• Animals Best Friends: Domesticated animals can't deal with frigid weather

  • The frigid temperatures and heavy snows lately make me think about the poor animals that live outside.

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  • The frigid temperatures and heavy snows lately make me think about the poor animals that live outside. These are mainly the birds and wildlife, but unfortunately there are many people that insist on keeping their pets outside in the worst of weather conditions.
    Cats and dogs are domesticated animals and that means that we need to take care of them. They can’t fend for themselves, at least not very well. We need to give them shelter, food, medical care, and love. They depend upon us like our children depend upon us. Why some people don’t understand this is beyond me.
    It is cruel to leave pets outside when the temperature drops below freezing and the wind chills drop to single digits. Bringing them into a heated garage or basement is much better than leaving them out to freeze in the cold. Years ago I went so far as to wrap my shepherd mix, Meggie’s, head in a scarf to protect her ears from frostbite.
    The weather isn’t the only danger for animals left outside. In cold weather cats may climb up under a car hood to get warm. This can be deadly if the car is started before the cat has a chance to get out. A cat takes up very little space inside. A cozy bed, a spot on the couch, or a spot on their person’s bed suits a cat just fine. Cats enjoy a warm, sunny spot next to a window so they can watch the birds and neighbors.
    Dogs need proper shelter and warm dry bedding to survive in the cold. Dogs shouldn’t be left outside on a tether 24 hours a day where they are at the mercy of the weather or worse. Dogs that are allowed to run loose can lose their scent in a snow storm and become lost. Dogs that are kept inside make great security alarms. They love to lie in a warm spot near a window and alert their owners when the mailman or a stranger approaches. They are also happy with a spot on the couch, bed, or floor to stretch out and relax.
    There are other hazards besides the cold weather for our pets. Ice melt and other chemicals to remove snow and ice can be dangerous to a dog or cat when ingested. There are special products used to melt ice that are pet friendly. Keep any spills of antifreeze cleaned up so pets do not lick it up. Antifreeze contains ethylene glycol which has a sweet taste and is deadly to pets. Certain brands of antifreeze that contain propylene glycol are non-toxic to pets.
    For those of us who love to take our pets out and about, please don’t leave them alone in a car in the cold weather. A car acts like a freezer in the winter and an oven in the summer and a pet can die when left in a vehicle in extreme weather.
    Page 2 of 2 - Pet lovers spoil their pet babies by putting them in coats, rain slickers, and boots in inclement weather. We coddle them, snuggle with them, and make sure they receive the best food, exercise, and lots of love. We take them to school for obedience and agility, have them groomed or bathe them with special shampoos, and take them to the vet when they are sick.
    I can only hope and pray that someday all pet owners will be considerate to their pets. That people will keep their pets in a safe, comfortable place where they cannot be harmed by weather or persons. That people will be responsible and train their pets and keep them contained in their yard so they won’t be hurt or stolen. Our dogs and cats need us and we need to be there for them.

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