By THE PRESS DEMOCRAT STAFF
The Sonoma Humane Society provided the following list of helpful hints:
– Keep pets indoors if at all possible during freezing temperatures.
– If they are outside, be sure they have access to a warm, dry, and draft-free shelter with adequate bedding and water (checking often that it’s not frozen).
– Provide extra food in their diet since they burn off more energy to keep warm (especially when outdoors).
– Before starting your car in the morning, bang on your hood to chase out any animals. Cats and other wildlife often crawl up under the hood of parked cars to warm up next to the car’s engine.
– Older animals and those with medical conditions are even more vulnerable to cold temperatures. Outdoor time should be very limited during cold weather.
– If you find yourself feeling cold, it’s likely your pet is cold too. Sweaters, coats and booties can help protect smaller dogs and those with less fur.
– Farm animals also need special care. Although many produce winter coats naturally, extra bedding, boosting feed and providing shelter from the elements will help them in extreme conditions.
– De-icing chemicals, rock salt and antifreeze are all dangerous to pets and many pick up these chemicals on their paws and then lick them. Be sure to wipe down paws with a warm, wet washcloth after pets have been outside or use booties when spending time outdoors.
– As always, be sure your pet is wearing proper identification at all times. A microchip offers additional protection and has reunited thousands of people with their missing pets.
– Signs of hypothermia include shivering, decreased heart rate or weak pulse, pale or blue mucous membranes and lethargy. If your pet shows any of these signs, contact your veterinarian immediately.