Maggie L. Moor-Orth Delaware Cooperative Extension Delaware State University
My dearest friends Susan, and Rick, have a few cats and a couple of dogs that live outdoors. They are busy now preparing their pets’ homes for the upcoming winter’s bitter cold and wet conditions. We all need to protect our pets from the harsh winter winds, colder temperatures, and the normal rain, sleet, and snow before winter conditions are here.
When the thermometer drops abruptly, do not leave cats or dogs outside. Old, very young and shorthaired pets should never be left outdoors.
Wind chill is more harmful to your pet than temperature. Because it takes a lot of energy to keep warm, outdoor pets should be fed more in the winter. Also, check the water dish often to make sure the water has not frozen.
In addition, doghouses should be dry, draft-free and big enough for the animal to go inside and lie down. The floor should be raised a few inches off the ground and covered with straw or cedar shavings. Place the entrance away from the wind and cover it with burlap or an old useable rug.
Warm engines in parked cars and trucks entice cats. To avoid injuring your pet or a neighbor’s, before starting your engine, bang on the vehicle’s hood to scare the cats away.
Pets that walk on sidewalks which have been treated with salt or chemicals to melt ice and snow can burn the pads on their feet. Therefore, when they enter your home, wipe their feet with a damp paper towel or cloth before they have a chance to lick them and burn their mouths.
These few suggestions won’t require much of your time, but will help you keep your well-loved pets warm and cozy all winter long—no matter how windy it may be, how cold it gets or how much snow falls.