With temperatures falling well below zero, special considerations need to be made for pets.
The McPherson Humane Society offered the following tips:
Keep your cat inside. Outdoors, felines can freeze, become dehydrated or starve due to lack of available food and water sources. During the winter, outdoor cats sometimes sleep under the hoods of cars. When the motor is started, the cat can be injured or killed by the fan belt. Be sure if your vehicles stay outside, especially overnight, that you check under the hood or bang on it before starting the engine giving them time to get out.
Never let your dog off the leash on snow or ice, especially during a snowstorm, dogs can lose their scent and easily become lost. More dogs are lost during the winter than during any other season, so make sure yours always wears ID tags. Be sure to wipe of your dogs legs, stomach and feet when he comes in from the outdoors. Dangerous salt, antifreeze or other chemicals could be on his paws and make them very ill or can be potentially fatal.
Grooming is always animportant part of your pet’s health. During the winter months do not shave your dog to the skin as his coat is needed to keep them warm. However, grooming does play an important part of your pet’s health, if you have questions about grooming and if it’s safe during the winter months, ask your veterinarian. When bathing, make sure his is completely dry before letting him outside or taking him for a walk.
Puppies do not tolerate the cold as well as adult dogs, and may be difficult to housebreak during the winter. If your puppy appears to be sensitive to the weather, you may opt to paper-train him inside. If your dog is sensitive to the cold due to age, illness or breed type (especially dogs with short noses), take him outdoors only to relieve himself.
Cats and Dogs
Never leave your dog or cat alone in a car during cold weather. A car can act as a refrigerator in the winter, holding in the cold and causing the animal to freeze to death.
Pets that spend more time outside during the winter need to have proper shelter and bedding. Sturdy dog houses with ample straw, blankets and always fresh, unfrozen water available at all times. Sheds, garages or barns work well for cats to get shelter from the elements. They also need warm bedding and water available at all times. In severe cold weather, bring your companion animals in the house — in the bathroom for example — or a heated shed or garage.
Horses need to have a wind break along with food and drinkable water.
If you know of animals without proper wind break, shelter or care, please contact the police or your local Humane Society. Hypothermia is a very real and present danger here in Kansas. Wind chills can drop into the teens or lower quickly and our animals depend on us to keep them safe.