Don’t Leave Your Critters Out in the Cold

winter_ready_chris

This is a picture of me last week at a regular pet sitting visit. The temperature was about 6 degrees outside, I had 3 dogs to care for, and it was MISERABLE for me and the dogs. These usually playful, fetching, jumping, running and chasing dogs went out, took care of their business and then ran right back up the stairs to the deck and waited for me to ascend the steps and let them back inside. Yes, I stay outside with them! And it was TOO COLD!

There is an old saying that I have heard news casters use in the last few days, “If it is too cold for you, it is too cold for them!” Now I don’t COMPLETELY agree with that, but I do think there is something too it.

I recently read an article by Dr. Marty Becker (America’s Vet) that stated that animals do much better in the cold then they do in the heat. ABSOLUTELY, but not 6 degrees with a wind chill of -5 degrees and frozen water.

Virginia law says that pet owners need to provide adequate shelter for companion animals that is “suitable for the species, age, condition, size and type of each animal.” Law states that the shelter must have enough space for each animal, is safe and protects animals from injury, rain, sleet, snow, hail, direct sunlight and the adverse effects of heat or cold. Shelter must also be properly lighted and cleaned. In addition, the shelter must have a solid surface (resting platform, pad, floor-mat, or similar device) that is large enough for the animal to lie on in a normal manner.”

Read more on the Virginia laws here.

 

 

Please do your part to help keep animals well and cared for in the winter. Especially in these extremely cold and windy days. Here are a few things you can do:

  1. Keep your pets sheltered – even if they spend the other three seasons outside, this time of year bring them in!
  2. Protect them from poisons. Antifreeze is extremely toxic to pets, but unfortunately, very tasty with a sweet taste. Pets are also exposed to toxic salts and deicing chemicals.
  3. Use pet safe deicing products.
  4. Protect the outdoor animals. Provide shelter, food and unfrozen water to the outdoor, neighborhood cats – maybe open up the shed for them to take refuge.
  5. Speak out! If you see an animal that needs help – call animal control and make them aware.

Here are some other tips to help get your pets “Winter Ready”.