Winter pet alert

  • Jan. 12, 2007 6:00 a.m.

Submitted by QCI SPCA–With freezing temperatures and an exceptionally wet winter, the QCI SPCA is urging all pet guardians to be sure their animals are brought indoors or have access to warm, dry housing. We’ve had a number of calls from concerned people who have seen others leaving their pets at the mercy of the weather. People may think that they’re fine because they have fur coats, but without their guardians taking extra steps to ensure they’re warm and dry they can die from exposure and hyperthermia as easily as any human caught in adverse conditions.
Though we don’t recommend that pets be kept outdoors, we know that some pets do spend many hours outside. Especially this winter, guardians should think about bringing their pets inside. If that’s not possible, they need an insulated, leak-free and windproof shelter off the ground. Remember smaller spaces heat up quicker and maintain heat longer. Bedding needs to be kept dry. Because blankets and fabric absorb water, freeze and then stay cool, it needs to be changed and dried often. Straw bedding works best but also needs to be changed regularly.
In the cold weather, animals are burning extra calories to stay warm so they need extra food. Their water supply needs to be checked up to 4 times a day to keep it ice free. A deep, dark coloured heavy plastic dish is the best option for an outdoor water supply. Metal or shallow dishes freeze quicker.
Whether you have a pet or not, use a pet-safe, propylene-based antifreeze. Ethylene glycol antifreeze is toxic to pets and wildlife, with a mere tablespoon enough to kill a cat or dog.
And it’s also a good idea to thump the hood of your vehicle before starting it in case a cat looking for a place to keep warm has crawled into the motor compartment, more common than you might think.