Prep for the Cold Weather Ahead!

The official start of winter is just around the corner and as Northeast Ohio residents, we are all too familiar with the blistering wind, deep snow, and slick ice. As you prepare for the winter by bringing out the cold weather layers, installing snow tires, and stocking the essentials, don’t forget about your pets! They need some prep and extra care too! Consider the following tips as the mercury begins to drop:

· Don’t stop giving your pets monthly flea and tick prevention! Fleas and ticks survive even when temperatures fluctuate around 32F. Without monthly preventative, your pets are susceptible to flea infestation and tick bites that can transmit dangerous diseases. Give your pets a monthly preventative throughout the year.

· Stock up! Keep enough pet food on hand in case your family becomes snowed in during a winter weather emergency.

· Be mindful of drafty areas within your home! Place beds and kennels away from drafty areas and provide your pet with blankets to stay warm and cozy. Small animal enclosures and aquariums should also be placed in areas without cold drafts.

· Bundle them up! When taking your dog outside, be sure to always provide short-haired breeds with coats and sweaters that cover their body from the neck to the base of their tail. Their chest and abdomen should also be securely covered.

· Don’t shave long-haired breeds! Forgo the summer haircut and allow your dog’s hair to grow out a bit. Doing so will help to keep them warm.

· Limit bath time! Reduce the frequency of baths as it can cause dry, itchy skin. Paws can also become cracked and painful so be sure to also dry off your dog’s paws and belly after coming in from the snow or rain.

· De-icers and antifreeze can be dangerous! Be aware of any antifreeze spills and clean up as soon as possible. Use products that are safer to use around pets. After being outside, wash your dog’s paws to remove any salt or chemical residue. These can be dangerous if ingested!

· Keep your dog on a leash! More dogs are lost during winter than any other season. Scent trails back home can be easily lost. Keep an eye on the depth of snow drifts along your fenced in backyard. Your dog may be able to clear your fence by climbing them.

· Keep your pets indoors! PAWSibilities encourages all pet owners to keep their companions indoors when not attended – especially during winter when weather can be unpredictable and deadly. Overexposure to the elements can quickly cause frostbite and hypothermia. Pet owners who leave pets outdoors in dangerous conditions may also face criminal charges. Please contact our Humane Officers if you suspect animal neglect, abuse, or abandonment within Summit County.

· Don’t leave your pet in your vehicle! Cars are also dangerous in the winter – they can quickly become cold and may cause hypothermia if a pet is left for an extended period of time.

· Bang the hood! Feral or stray cats and small wildlife may crawl into the nooks and crannies of the engine for shelter and warmth. Help prevent disaster by banging the hood of your car before starting the engine when the weather is cold.

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