Winter weather is hard on all of us with its snow and ice and dangerously low temperatures. The frosty weather can also be difficult for our pets and the American Red Cross has steps people can follow to help ensure their pet’s safety when chilly weather hits their area.
If possible, bring your pets inside during cold winter weather. Move other animals or livestock to sheltered areas and make sure they have access to non-frozen drinking water. If the animals are outside, make sure their access to food and water is not blocked by snow drifts, ice or other obstacles.
Pet owners can also take a Red Cross Pet First Aid class. Many Red Cross chapters offer classes with hands-on training in Pet First Aid procedures. These classes teach pet owners the skills necessary to tend to unexpected emergencies until they can get their pet to a veterinarian. Visit www.redcross.org to contact your local chapter.
Also available are the Red Cross Dog First Aid Manual and Cat First Aid Manual. These come with a 30-minute DVD that features step-by-step instructions on safety procedures, disaster preparedness and dealing with medical emergencies. The manuals will help you:
- Administer medications
- Recognize an emergency
- Perform CPR and first aid
- Treat common problems and emergencies requiring immediate attention
- Stock a pet first aid kit
The following tips on winter pet safety are provided by the Humane Society of the United States:
- If pets cannot come indoors, make sure they are protected by a dry, draft-free enclosure large enough to allow them to sit and lie down, but small enough to hold in the pet’s body heat. Raise the floor a few inches off the ground and cover it with cedar shavings or straw. Turn the enclosure away from the wind and cover the doorway with waterproof burlap or heavy plastic.
- Salt and other chemicals used to melt snow and ice can irritate a pet’s paws. Wipe their paws with a damp towel before your pet licks them and irritates their mouth.
- Antifreeze is a deadly poison. Wipe up spills and store antifreeze out of reach.
For more information on winter safety for you and your pet, visit www.redcross.org.