Texas temperatures are always extreme making it more important for pet owners to be prepared. Here are some helpful winter pet safety tips to help make sure your pets stay warm and dry this year.
1. Bring your pets inside. Pets can not tolerate temperatures below freezing for long periods of time. Please bring your outdoor pets inside if the temperature is below freezing. Can a pet freeze? Yes. Pets get frost bite and suffer from hypothermia just like we humans. Even with fur coats they are still no match for freezing temperatures.
2. Make sure all outdoor pets have adequate shelter. Shelter should be large enough that the pet can stand up and turn around but small enough that they can use their own body heat to warm it. A shelter that is too big will not keep your pet warm.
3. Use Hay, not blankets, inside your pets shelter. Hay stays dry and holds warmth. Blankets hold moisture and freeze.
4. Feed your pet more. Pets require extra calories to stay warm in cold temperatures. Make sure your out-door pet has quality food and plenty of it.
5. Make sure your pet has access to fresh water that has not frozen.
Need a dog house? Flea markets and garage sales are great options for affordable pet shelters, but make sure they are not cracked. Remember to always raise your pet’s shelter a few inches off the ground. At least 2 groups in Wichita Falls will help if you can not afford a dog house. P.E.T.S. Hounds Habitat Program provides dog houses to large dogs without a shelter at no cost. Texas Pit Crew also furnishes free dog houses. Click on the underlined links to learn more.
Dogs are not the only pets that need protection during winter months. Outdoor cats need safe, warm places to weather the cold temperatures as well. Most cat owners bring their cats in when temperatures drop but what about the neighborhood cats that no one actually owns? Many of these cats may be feral, but it’s our responsibility to make sure they do not suffer needlessly. First, if there are feral or free-roaming cats in your neighborhood or around your business, bring them to P.E.T.S. to fix them. We have a grant from PetSmart Charities that will sterilize your ferals for free. You pay only $4.00 for rabies. Why fix a cat that doesn’t belong to you? Read our TRN blog to learn about the important roles feral and free-roaming cats play in our community.
You can take kindness one step further by creating cheap shelters to help feral and free-roaming cats this winter. Cats are easily ignored and considered more independent and self-sufficient than dogs. They do not get the sympathy and care that dogs do, but they deserve it just as much. Feral cats may never be pets, but they are living, feeling creatures that deserve kindness. For a few bucks, you can provide a feral or free-roaming cat with shelter this winter by using insulated foam coolers, Rubbermaid tubs, or another solution from this link (take a look for step by step instructions on several DIY cheap cat shelters). You can also contact your doctor or vet clinic for free styrofoam sheets to use inside the Rubbermaid tubs. We all receive weekly cold shipments with these inside. Finally, the ASPCA has some great tips for helping out feral and free-roaming cats.
We hope you have a wonderful winter. Please share this blog and help spread the word that pets need safe, warm shelter this winter, too. They count on us for these simple necessities. Happy Holidays from everyone at P.E.T.S. Low Cost Spay and Neuter Clinic.