Humane Society: Don’t forget your pets during storm
With a winter storm barreling down on California, the Humane Society reminds travelers and those with pets to bring them in from the cold, snow and wind.The Humane Society of the United States urges people to remember their animals when preparing for emergencies, taking shelter, or evacuating, said Eric Sakach, director of The Humane Society on the West Coast.
Dont leave pets outdoors when the temperature drops below freezing. Dogs need outdoor exercise but take care not to keep them out for lengthy periods during very cold weather. Short-coated dogs may feel more comfortable wearing a sweater during walks. Dogs and cats are safer indoors in all sorts of weather. Animals should never be left outdoors unattended as they risk being stolen or otherwise being harmed.Signs of hypothermia include: weak pulse, dilated pupils, decreased heart rate, extreme shivering, pale or blue mucous membranes, body temperature below 95 degrees, disorientation or unconsciousness. Consequences of extreme hypothermia may include neurological problems including coma, heart problems, kidney failure, and death. Check with a veterinarian for more information.Wind-chill can threaten a pets life, no matter what the temperature. Dogs must be protected by a dry, draft-free doghouse that is large enough to allow the dog to sit and lie down comfortably, but small enough to hold in his/her body heat. The floor should be raised a few inches off the ground and covered with cedar shavings or straw. The house should be turned to face away from the wind, and the doorway should be covered with a flap of heavy waterproof fabric or heavy plastic.Pets spending a lot of time outdoors need more food in the winter. Keeping warm depletes energy. Routinely check your pet’s water dish to make certain the water is fresh and not frozen. Use plastic food and water bowls rather than metal; when the temperature is low, your pet’s tongue can stick and freeze to metal.If you will be staying anywhere other than your home for several days during a storm, remember to take enough pet food, any medications and other supplies your pet needs. And make sure you have enough food and supplies stockpiled at home if you do plan to stay there.Warm car engines are dangerous for cats and small wildlife. Parked cars attract small animals which may crawl up under the hood looking for warmth. To avoid injuring any hidden animals, bang on your car’s hood to scare them away before starting your engine. De-icing chemicals are hazardous. The salt and other chemicals used to melt snow and ice can irritate the pads of your pet’s feet. Wipe the feet with a damp towel every time after coming in from outdoors even if you dont see salt on walkways. Antifreeze is a deadly poison. However, it has a sweet taste that attracts animals and children. Wipe up spills and store antifreeze out of reach. Better yet, use antifreeze-coolant made with propylene glycol; if swallowed in small amounts, it will not hurt pets, wildlife, or people.
Have a water supply for a minimum of three days, with provisions to keep it from freezing. (Use plastic, not metal containers).Provide sturdy buildings to house farm animals that won’t collapse under the weight of snow or ice.Have a containment area to keep animals from sliding down hills.Keep emergency contact numbers handy, such as those for a large animal veterinarian in your area, a large animal rescue or an emergency animal transporting facility.
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