With snow and freezing temperatures upon us, it’s time to prepare yourselves and your pets for the winter season if you haven’t done so already. The Seattle Humane Society offers these tips to keep pets safe during cold weather and to help you prepare for winter storms and disasters.
FIVE WINTER BASICS FOR PETS:
• Dress Appropriately
A dog’s coat provides some insulation against the cold, but short-haired dogs may need a coat or sweater for additional warmth while outside. Dogs can fall victim to frostbite, just like people.
• Increase Food Supply
Dogs have to work harder to stay warm when exercising outside. Increasing his food supply, particularly protein, will keep him and his fur in tip-top shape.
• Beware of Seasonal Poisons
Coolant and antifreeze can spill in the garage or on the street and are lethal poisons for dogs and cats. A dog’s paws, legs and stomach should be wiped off when coming in out of the rain, sleet, snow or ice.
• Offer Warm Sleeping Spots
Pets belong inside with the rest of the family. Providing a warm place to sleep, off of the floor and away from drafts, will keep dogs and cats feeling comfortable during the cold months.
• Save a Life by Tapping on Your Hood
Outdoor cats will climb under the hoods of cars for warmth, so be safe and bang loudly on the car’s hood before starting the engine to give any sleeping cats a chance to vacate.
PREPARING FOR WINTER FLOODS & DISASTERS:
The Seattle Humane Society assists King County residents with more than just animal adoptions; in collaboration with the American Red Cross, we also provide free temporary shelter and care for pets displaced in natural disasters such as floods, fires and power outages.
The best way to protect your family members from the effects of a disaster is to have a plan for everyone, including your furry or feathered family members. If a disaster means you must evacuate your home, take your companion animals, too. Leaving pets behind is not safe.
Have a Safe Place to Go
Red Cross disaster shelters do not accept pets unless they are service animals assisting people with disabilities, so have a plan for evacuating your pets safely.
• Make sure your pet is microchipped and wearing an ID tag.
• Know how to get to the Seattle Humane Society where free shelter and care for your pet will be provided during a disaster.
• Contact nearby hotels to learn about their policies on accepting pets during an emergency. Be sure to ask about restrictions on number, size and species.
• Make reciprocal agreements with friends, relatives and neighbors to shelter companion animals.
• Keep an updated list of boarding kennels and veterinary clinics that offer emergency shelter. List names and addresses of family, friends or shelters outside of your local area willing to house your pet in case of emergency.
Make a Disaster Supply Kit:
While stocking up on emergency supplies for your family, keep your pets in mind, too. Your animal disaster supply kit should include:
• Water: Keep at least 3 days of water for each pet.
• Food: Place at least 3 days of food in a waterproof container (don't forget a can opener if needed!)
• Collar with ID tag and leash: Include a back-up collar with identification attached.
• Crate or pet carrier: Pack bedding and toys for your pet.
• Photos: Take a picture of your pet and a picture of you and your pet together. Write a description of your animal on the back of the photos including breed, color, age and gender.
• Medical records and other important documents: Store copies of registration information, adoption papers, medical records and vaccination documents in a waterproof bag. Also, have a cooler and ice packs in case medications require refrigeration.
• Sanitation: Include litter and a small litter box for cats. Make sure the litter box fits in the crate. For dogs, pack bags for waste removal, bleach and paper towels.
• First aid kit and medications: Keep an extra supply of the medicine your pet takes in a waterproof container. Include bandage rolls, medical tape, scissors, antibiotic ointment, flea and tick prevention, latex gloves and isopropyl alcohol in your first aid kit.
• Information on feeding schedules, medical conditions, behavior problems, and the name and number of your veterinarian in case you have to foster or board your pets.
For more information, visit our website at seattlehumane.org. If you are in need of our assistance in an emergency, contact the Seattle Humane Society at (425) 641-0080.
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