The Santa Barbara County Animal Services is providing tips on keeping your pets safe during wintry weather.
Officials from Animal Services say some pets are especially vulnerable to the cold, including puppies, kittens, birds, reptiles, seniors, and pregnant pets.
The Animal Services offers the following tips:
- Check your gates: High wind often causes fences to be blown out or gates to swing open. Something as simple as a clip on your gate latch can keep your pets safely on your property.
- Stay inside: If it’s possible, keep your pets indoors. Cats and dogs should be kept inside during cold and freezing weather. If it’s too cold for you, it’s probably too cold for your pet. Most dogs begin to suffer when the temperatures drop below 40 degrees.
- It’s sweater weather: If your dog has a short coat or seems bothered by the cold weather, consider a sweater or dog coat. Use a dry sweater or coat each time your dog goes outside. Wet sweaters or coats can actually make your dog colder.
- Check paws and wipe down pets: After walks in rainy weather, paws, legs, and bellies may pick up harmful chemicals that could be toxic if pets lick them off of their feet or fur. Dog booties are a good option during wet and cold weather; ensure booties are fitting properly.
- Make some noise: A warm vehicle engine can be an appealing place for a stray pet to find heat. Look underneath your car, bang on the hood, and honk the horn to encourage feline hitchhikers to leave their hiding spot under the hood.
- Never leave a pet alone in a car during cold weather: A car can act as a refrigerator, holding in the cold and causing the animal to freeze to death. Always check to make sure that dogs are welcome where you are going, otherwise leave them at home.
- Wear a collar and check the chip: Make sure your pet is wearing a well-fitting collar with a current dog license and ID tag, and that your furry friend is microchipped with your
up-to-date contact information, which can help reunite you with your lost pet should you become separated.
- Winter wellness: Cold weather may worsen some medical conditions such as arthritis. Your pet should be examined by a veterinarian at least once a year, and it’s as good a time as any to get them checked out to make sure they are ready and as healthy as possible for cold weather.
If you encounter a pet left in the cold, Animal Services officials said you should politely let the owner know you are concerned.