The nation’s first national humane organization is giving tips to keep pets safe during a deadly cold snap.
According to American Humane, when the weather becomes unsafe for humans, it is also unsafe for companion animals. It said it is asking families to take precautions for not only themselves but their animals too.
“States and regions that are accustomed to mild winters are experiencing weather patterns that endanger the lives of people and animals,” said Robin Ganzert, Ph.D., president & CEO of American Humane. “It is imperative that families include their companion animals in their plans as they adapt to freezing and precarious situations.”
American Humane has given families the following tips to keep pets safe during cold weather:
- When bathing animals in cold weather, make sure they are completely dry before taking them outside.
- When walking dogs in bad weather, keep them on leashes. It is easier for a dog to get lost in winter storms. More dogs are lost during the winter than any other season.
- Do not forget to microchip and put ID tags on animals.
- Leash pets if near frozen ponds, lakes or rivers, as they can break through the ice and quickly succumb to hypothermia before trained professionals can arrive. Never try an ice rescue alone, leave that to trained professionals.
- When working on housebreaking puppies, remember they are more susceptible to cold than adult dogs are. In cold conditions or bad weather, try paper training your new pet instead of taking them outside.
- Keep pets inside during the day and night. Just because they have fur does not mean they can handle extremely cold temperatures.
- If animals are left out, they should have a draft-free shelter that is large enough for them to stand and turn around in, but small enough to retain body heat. Use a layer of straw or other bedding material to help insulate them against the cold. Make sure the entrance to the shelter faces away from incoming wind and snow.
- Keep cats indoors. Cats can freeze in cold weather without shelter. Sometimes cats left outdoors will look for shelter and heat under the hoods of cars and are hurt or killed when the car is turned on. Bang loudly on the hoods of cars a few times before starting the engine to avoid a tragic situation. This will help wild animals too.
- When taking pets out for a bathroom break, stay with them. If it is too cold for a human to stand outside, it is too cold for a pet to stand outside.