Protect those pets

Published 4:55 pm Thursday, January 5, 2017

With a wintry mix of precipitation forecast for today and Saturday, there’s no doubt area residents will take actions related to dealing with such weather: getting snow shovels out, making sure there’s fuel for the furnace and dressing warmly.

The North Carolina Department of Transportation and local governments have salt, sand and snowplows ready in case they’re needed to clear highways and streets. Grocery stores likely increased the amount of milk, bread, cold cuts and other staples on their shelves in anticipation of that inevitable rush of shoppers who want to make sure they have plenty of food in case that prediction of an inch of snow turns into a reality of 4 inches of snow … or more.

So, there’s fuel to run the furnace. The refrigerator and pantry are stocked. Road-clearing crews are on stand-by. Preparations made.

What about the pets? Yes, what about those animals that are part of the family?

The American Red Cross and the Humane Society of the United States offer the following advice when it comes to caring for pets and other animals during winter storms:

  • If possible, bring pets inside during cold winter weather. Move other animals or livestock to sheltered areas and make sure they have access to non-frozen drinking water;
  • If the animals are outside, make sure their access to food and water is not blocked by snow drifts, ice or other obstacles;
  • If pets cannot come indoors, make sure they are protected by a dry, draft-free enclosure large enough to allow them to sit and lie down, but small enough to hold in the pet’s body heat. Raise the floor a few inches off the ground and cover it with cedar shavings or straw. Turn the enclosure away from the wind and cover the doorway with waterproof burlap or heavy plastic;
  • Salt and other chemicals used to melt snow and ice can irritate a pet’s paws. Wipe their paws with a damp towel before your pet licks them and irritates their mouth;
  • Antifreeze is a deadly poison. Wipe up spills and store antifreeze out of reach.

Staying warm requires extra calories, and dehydration in cold weather is possible. So, make sure pets get extra food and their water bowls are filled regularly.

While preparing for winter storms and freezing temperatures, don’t forget to make sure Fido and Fluffy are prepared, too.