Brrrrrrrrrrrrrrr!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! What a winter we are having! I hope that everybody out there is staying warm. But even more so, I hope all the animals out there are staying warm.
I know that I am stocking up my bird feeders as we speak, and worrying about my glorious Canada geese that have to weather the winter (no pun intended) and also worry about the other little song birds, the foxes and coyotes, the deer, etc, you name it, I wonder how these creatures fare in heat and cold.
Anyway, our domestic pets depend on us for safe harboring, and here are a few considerations.
Cats are independent little spirits who are best kept inside. There have been very many studies and concerns about cats decimating the song bird population, and certainly cats and cars are not a good mix. Best keep kitty indoors.
Some cats, however, are outdoors in this weather; they may be a neighbor’s cat or a feral stray. In weather like this, cats seek warmth and shelter, and often creep up into the warm engines of cars. Injuries to engine cats are often graphic and severe. In order to avoid those, make loud noises, stomp towards your car, and bang on the hood to make sure that any heat-seeking-Kitty-Missile has fair warning to evacuate the premises!
For our pet dogs, walking and elimination issues are different from cats.
While walking Fido, make sure that you are with her ON LEASH. At our first cold spell, where there was so much panic and chaos, our local hotlines were abuzz with lost pet information.
One of the calls was from a person who decided that it would be fun to let his Siberian Husky, a breed created for running at high rates of speed pulling humans behind them, run off leash. The dog ran away in the storm and was never seen again. Use common sense!!!
Dogs can tolerate cold based on their breed, health status, and coat. Imagine the difference between an Italian Greyhound in the snow (needs a coat and booties just to go out to potty and then right back inside) and a Malamute, a large breed bred for the Alaskan tundra. Older dogs and dogs with comprised immune systems are more special needs animals and will need supervision and immediate turn around time for going back indoors.
If you know of someone who has an outdoor- only dog, make sure that you help that animal have a draft free area, straw is good insulation for walls, blankets, a shelter, and fresh not frozen water. Dog bowl water heaters are a very good investment.
And for pet dogs who go on walks, when you get them home, wipe off their paws with a warm, wet towel. People often salt their drives and sidewalks, and the salt de-icer can be caustic to your dog’s skin, so carefully clean those paws.
And let’s not forget our beloved chookies! (editor: chickens)
This time of year is a fine time to add whole corn to their diet for warmth (cracked corn is often devoid of nutrients). Warm water in their bowls is much appreciated, and many of us make a warm mash at night for a bed time snack to keep those little bodies roasty-toasty.
My flock is looking forward to spring, and I have all my seed catalogs on my lap as we speak, happy shivering to you all, stay WARM!!!
Dorene and flock and pack and herd – brrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr!!!!
Ps – here is an interesting link to more in-depth information on how to deal with cold weather issues and your pets: