We quickly wanted to share these tips that were passed along to us in regards to caring for your pets this winter. Though it’s been somewhat mild here in Chicago it’s always best to be prepared.
Cold Weather Pet Care Tips from Animal Care and Control
In Chicago, winter is a season of bitter cold and numbing wetness. Help your pets remain happy and healthy during the colder months by following these simple guidelines:
Don’t leave dogs outdoors when the temperature drops. Most dogs and all cats are safer indoors, except when taken out for exercise. Regardless of the season, short-haired, very young or old dogs and all cats should never be left outside without supervision. Short-coated dogs may feel more comfortable wearing a sweater during walks.
No matter what the temperature, windchill can threaten a pet’s life. A dog or cat is happiest and healthiest when kept indoors. 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 before your pet licks them and irritates his/her mouth.
Antifreeze is a deadly poison, but it has a sweet taste that may attract animals and children. Wipe up spills and store antifreeze (and all household chemicals) out of reach. Better yet, use antifreeze-coolant made with propylene glycol; if swallowed in small amounts, it will not hurt pets, wildlife, or your family.
Chicago Animal Care and Control strongly recommends keeping companion animals inside your home. The best prescription for winter’s woes is to keep your dog or cat inside with you and your family. The happiest dogs are those who are taken out frequently for walks and exercise but kept inside the rest of the time. Dogs and cats are social animals who crave human companionship. Your animals companions deserve to live indoors with you and your family.
If your dog is an outdoor dog:
Your dog 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 waterproof burlap or heavy plastic.
Pets who spend a lot of time outdoors need more food in the winter because keeping warm depletes their energy. Routinely check your pet’s water dish to make certain the water is fresh and unfrozen. Use plastic food and water bowls rather than metal – when the temperature is low, your pet’s tongue can stick and freeze to metal.
See the original article here: http://www.cityofchicago.org/city/en/depts/cacc/supp_info/cold_weather_petcare.html
On another note, make sure to keep your pets away from holiday decor; mistletoe, holly and poinsettias are all poisonous to pets. Drinking the stagnant water, eating candy, chocolate or tinsel and trimming can all be extremely harmful to your pets – so aside from the cold make sure you’re keeping a careful eye on them indoors throughout this holiday season.