Brrrr—it’s cold outside! Fort Wayne Animal Care and Control is reminding pet owners that any animal kept outside for any period of time, must have access to food, water, and a warm, dry shelter. The following guidelines will help you protect your companion animals when the mercury dips.

•The shelter must be specifically designed to shelter an animal and be free of leaks to wind, snow, and rain. Face the opening of the shelter to the east or south away from prevailing winds or fasten a heavy door flap to the top of the doorframe.

•Locate the animal’s home to a warmer location in the sun.

•A snug inner room can be created using a removable partition inside the doghouse in back of the door opening.

•Use straw or cedar chips for bedding. Towels and blankets are insufficient because cloth draws moisture. Hay is not suitable bedding because of mold.

•Insulate the animal’s house. Raise it several inches above the ground – – preferably on concrete blocks to prevent snow from drifting inside. Frame the elevated area with boards to prevent
winds from gusting under the animal’s house.

•Animals living inside an unheated garage must have a shelter inside the garage.

•Animals need extra food to help generate enough body heat to stay warm and must have unfrozen water to drink at all times. A heated water bucket is a great investment.

•All dogs and cats living within the city must wear the required city pet registration on a properly fitted leather or nylon collar.

•Keep all cats inside. Felines who spend time outside can freeze, or become lost or injured.

•Bring dogs inside during extreme cold spells. Animals are very susceptible to frostbite and can quickly die of hypothermia if left outside unsupervised. Puppies and senior dogs do not tolerate the cold, so make walks and playtime short.

•Thoroughly wipe off your dog’s legs and stomach following cold weather walks. Dogs can easily ingest salt, antifreeze or other potentially dangerous chemicals while licking their paws. Check paws for cuts caused by snow or encrusted ice.

The Waynedale News Staff
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