By Janet Medcalf
When cold weather hits, we pull our coats and sweaters out of the closet and turn our heaters on so we'll stay warm. What about our pets? They aren't able to do that for themselves and depend on us to make sure they are ready for cold weather too. The Greeneville-Greene County Humane Society is here to offer tips on how to keep your pets healthy and warm during these cold winter months.
The best way to keep your pet safe and warm during the winter months is by keeping them indoors. Do you think your dog would enjoy a long evening by the fire or snuggled up on the couch with you? Most cats would also love to be on the inside looking out at the snow from a safe window where they won't get their little paws wet and cold.
When taking your dog for a walk, you may want to dress him or her in a warm sweater. Short walks in the coldest of temperatures are recommended. Salt used to melt snow and ice can irritate your dog's paws, so be sure to wash their paws when they come in from a walk. You may also want to purchase a set of doggie boots for extra protection for your dog's tender toes. It also a good idea to keep the hair on your dog's feet trimmed so ice doesn't accumulate on them.
Some dog breeds are able to tolerate cold weather better than others, but all breeds are still susceptible to frostbite and respiratory illnesses. Keeping your dogs and cats dry and warm will help them stay safe. Young pups and kittens as well as senior dogs and cats are at high risk of danger from cold weather. As with humans, many older pets have arthritis, which can be very painful, especially in the cold temperatures. It's a good idea to talk to your Veterinarian about medications that can help your arthritic pet.
Besides cold temperatures, there are other dangers lurking outside such as antifreeze. Antifreeze can be deadly to our pets and wildlife. Always properly dispose of antifreeze so animals are not able to come in contact with it. Never allow your pets to run loose outside. You never know if your neighbor has disposed of his antifreeze properly. Cats love to curl up in warm places, so be sure to honk your horn a couple of times or bang on your hood before starting your engine in case a cold kitty has decided to stay warm inside it.
If your pet lives outdoors, it will need adequate shelter. A warm insulated dog house with clean dry bedding or cedar chips would be appreciated by your outdoor pet. You'll also need to make sure that your outdoor pet has access to unfrozen water at all times. This could mean changing their water several times throughout the day or purchasing a heated water bucket from your local farm store or online.
We asked the dogs and cats available for adoption at the Humane Society whether they would like to live their lives indoors with the family or outdoors and they unanimously agreed that living indoors is more preferable to a lonely life outdoors, especially in the cold wintertime.
We hope all of the Greeneville Neighbor News readers will enjoy the photos of a few of our adoptable animals all dressed up and ready for the cold weather. Remember to keep your pets warm and dry this season.
If you're interested in adopting a pet this winter, we have many to choose from. The Greeneville Greene County Humane Society has many cats and dogs available for adoption. To view our adoptable animals, go to our Facebook page at Friends of Greeneville-Greene County TN Humane Society or our website at gchumanesociety.com or call us if you have any questions about adoption. (423) 639-4771. We would love to hear from you.