When severe winter weather and cold temperatures move into our area, it is important to remember that our pets also need some extra attention to remain healthy and happy.  Below are a few tips on how to prepare for severe winter weather with your pets.

Domesticated pets, especially short-haired breeds, do not have the same protection against severe cold as do wild animals and therefore need additional care and proper shelter whenever they are outside.

Dogs require adequate shelter and drinkable water when they are kept outdoors. Dogs also need extra food in cold weather.  Remember,water bowls can freeze very quickly.  If an animal can’t find clean drinking water, they are more likely to drink out of puddles of antifreeze or other toxic chemicals.

During the winter, a dog house will keep a dog dry and help maintain body heat. The house should only be large enough for him to turn aroundinside and not much bigger.    The houseshould be half-filled with straw for bedding and insulation.  Face the opening of the dog house to the south and nail heavy plastic or cloth strips overthe door to keep the wind outside and body heat inside.  Straw is MUCH better than blankets as the straw allows the animal to burrow down for extra warmth, while blankets can get wet and freeze.

CACS recommends that outside dogs are brought into a house or garage when temperatures arebelow 20° and when letting your inside dog out, remember to make the outings brief.
If you or your neighbors have cats who stay outside, make sure the cat is not napping near your warm car engine by visually checking or making noise like knocking on the hood to give the cat a chance to escape before turning on the car.

When walking your dog, remember to wipe their paws after the walk.  Salt from sidewalks can make paw pads sensitive and upset their digestive tract when they lick their paws.