The temperatures are already dropping low and the biggest thing to remember is that if it is too cold for you to be outside then it is too cold for your pets. The Humane Society of Greater Dayton recommends all animals should remain indoors as much as possible during the colder months to protect them from the harsh and bitterly cold elements. If your animals must stay outdoors, then they need to have proper shelter to protect them from the cold.
If you have witnessed any animal that has been outdoors for an extended period of time and who is not protected from the winter chill please call the Humane Society’s cruelty/neglect hotline at (855) PETS-911 or (855) 738-7911. For all dogs left outdoors, you can also call the Animal Resource Center at (937) 898-4457. Let’s work together to keep all of our pets safe and warm this winter season!
As the snow pours into the Dayton area, we ask you all to please remember your pets and keep them safe from the cold. Here are a few quick tips to help!
Take pets inside with the exception of periods of exercise. This will protect them from the winter elements. Consider dressing your pet in a sweater or coat for outdoor activities. This will help them retain their body heat and will also prevent their skin from drying out. Whenever your pets go outdoors, you need to also protect their paws as much as possible. Booties can help lower your pet’s exposure to painful salt crystals and other ice-melting elements. If booties aren’t an option, try rubbing petroleum jelly into the pads of your pet’s paws before you go out. This will protect your pet from salts and other chemicals. When you bring them indoors wipe off their paws with a dry towel immediately, making sure to pay attention to between their toes.
If your pet must be outdoors, provide them with well-equipped shelter. You want shelter that is dry, draft-free and large enough for your pet to turn around, sit and lie down comfortably. Do not put blankets in your pet's shelter. These can absorb moisture and freeze causing more damage than good to your pet. Instead, use straw to insulate your shelter. It stays dry and helps keep pets warm.
Did you know that in the winter months pets tend to use more energy to stay warm. Make sure to feed your pets a little more food during the winter and give them plenty of water. This will help them produce the energy they need to stay warmer and will keep them hydrated, which will help moisturize their skin. Routinely check your pet's water dish to make certain the water is fresh and unfrozen.
Warm engines in parked cars attract cats and small wildlife, which may crawl up under the hood for warmth. To avoid injuring animals, bang on your car's hood to scare them away before starting your engine.
Animals with longer coats tend to have issues with salt crystals, snow balls or even de-icing chemicals clinging to their fur, which can dry your pet’s skin out. Keep fur trimmed to stop some of this from collecting on your pet. Don’t forget to also clip the hair between their paws. By also brushing your pet frequently, you can stimulate blood circulation, which improves your pet’s overall skin condition. You do however want to also limit the number of baths you give your pets during the winter months. Washing too often can remove the essential oils your pets need to keep their skin healthy. Your vet can recommend a good moisturizing shampoo or rinse for you to use on your pets to help their skin.
Keep paws free of salt and other winter chemicals. The salt and chemicals used to melt snow and ice can irritate the pads of your pet's feet. Wipe the feet with a damp towel before your pet licks them and irritates his or her mouth, too.
Antifreeze is a deadly poison, but it has a sweet taste that may attract animals. Wipe up spills and store antifreeze where it cannot be accessed by pets.
Thank you for visiting the Humane Society of Greater Dayton's website! We save the lives of thousands of homeless, abused and abandoned animals each year at the Humane Society! We are a non-profit, non-tax supported animal welfare agency; and we are not a part of any national organization.
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If you come into contact with young wildlife, do not immediately assume that the animals are orphaned. The parents of these young animals are likely searching for food. Many young animals instinctively remain in one location, while adults forage for food. Parents will likely to return to their young at dawn or dusk.
If you are concerned about an animal, watch it from a distance to determine if it is really orphaned. If you have any questions or concerns about wildlife, contact the Ohio Department of Wildlife at (937) 372-5639 ext. 5211.
Information on this page adapted from University of Illinois Extension, September 23, 2010, web.extension.illinois.edu/wildlife