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Washington Times



Safeguard Animals during Freezing Weather
Help protect your pets during winter


Protect your pets during winter Every year, authorities receive complaints about people who leave dogs outside in the cold. Although they are equipped with fur coats, dogs and other animals can still suffer from frostbite and exposure, and they can become dehydrated when water sources freeze. Cold weather spells extra hardship for "backyard dogs," who often go without adequate food, water, shelter, or veterinary care. The winter months can also pose challenges for wildlife.

Here are some tips to help protect your animals during winter.

  • Keep animals inside. This is especially important to remember when it comes to puppies and kittens, elderly animals, small animals, and dogs with short hair, including pointers, beagles, pit bulls, Rottweilers, and Dobermans. Short-haired animals will also benefit from a warm sweater or coat on walks.

  • Don't allow your cat or dog to roam freely outdoors. During winter, cats sometimes climb under the hoods of cars to be near warm engines and are badly injured or killed when the car is started.

  • Wipe off your dogs' or cats' legs, feet, and stomachs after they come in from the snow. Salt and other chemicals can make your animals sick if they ingest them. You should also increase animals' food rations during the winter because they are burning more calories to keep warm.

  • Keep an eye out for strays. Take unidentified animals inside until you can find their guardians or get them to an animal shelter. If strays are skittish or otherwise unapproachable, provide food and water and call your local humane society for assistance in trapping them and getting them indoors.

  • When you see dogs who have been left outdoors, provide them with proper shelter. For information on what constitutes adequate shelter, read this PDF file.

  • When temperatures fall below freezing, birds and other animals may have trouble finding food and water. Hang bird feeders from trees or spread birdseed on the ground. Provide access to liquid water by filling a heavy water bowl and breaking the surface ice twice a day.

Here are some web resources to learn about protecting your pets and wildlife in winter weather.









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