Cold weather common sense

Gloria J. Towle, Special to The County
1 year ago

How very fortunate we have been this winter. To experience mild temperatures and calm days is certainly a rarity, especially in December and January.  Unfortunately the weather this week is taking a bitter cold turn with well below zero nights and even single numbers for the days.  And then there is the wind chill factor to consider.

Making sure to keep your pets and even your farm animals protected during this dangerous weather is so important and just plain old “common sense.”

If it’s too cold for you, it’s too cold for them.  A general rule of thumb:  if you can’t stand the cold temperatures long enough for your furry friend to do his business, chances are he can’t either.  So, once he’s done his duty, head back inside where it’s warm.  Best of luck on this task, especially with those folks whose dogs that love the winter snow.

Have a senior dog?  The cold can exacerbate arthritis in the hips.  Ramps on steps are handy, so is an entryway with a sizable floor mat.  If your old pup has weak joints, wet paws on a slippery floor can lead to falls, which could cause injury.  

Forgo a bath or two.  Washing pets strips their skin of natural oils and can dry out the skin, making it flaky and irritated.   If you need to wash up a road-kill roller, use a moisturizing shampoo to help their skin retain some moisture.  Consider a coat or sweater for short-haired companions.  They’ll thank you for the extra coverage.

Check their feet.  Keep an eye on toes and paw pads for irritation, cracking, sores or bleeding.  Ice can cut up their feet.  Apply petroleum jelly before your pet goes out to help protect from some irritants.  Road sand and grit can get caught between toes and cause sores. All the road salts and chemicals that corrode your car’s undercarriage can also irritate your good boy’s feet and belly.  Licking that same stuff off is sure to cause digestive upset, too.  Wipe them down after walks to get the grime off.

Lastly, if you must have your pet outside for a period of time, make sure they have someplace out of the elements and the wind, preferably a warm, insulated dog house with a thick layer of straw for bedding.  Remember to provide fresh water at all times.  

Please stop by the Central Aroostook Humane Society or check us out on Facebook. Our hours are Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., closing for lunch from 12 to 12:30.  Please be responsible: spay and neuter your pets.

Gloria J. Towle is the secretary and a member of the Central Aroostook Humane Society board of directors.