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Protect Pets From Ice, Cold

UPDATED January 7, 2009

The Tulsa World

As the coldest air of the winter season settles its icy grip across the Plains, animals need protection as much as humans do.

While waiting for the ice to melt, pet owners can take several steps to make sure that their pets are in good condition, according to Dr. Melissa Montgomery, a veterinarian with the Tulsa Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

Water frequently: Put warm water in outdoor bowls, making sure to check frequently to see whether the water has frozen. Don`t use metal bowls.

Feed heartily: Put out more food than usual.

Stay inside: Keep animals indoors or in a garage, making sure there is no poison or antifreeze in the area.

Outdoor housing: If pets must be left outside for extended periods, make sure their housing is dry and large enough for them to sit in and stand comfortably yet small enough to hold in their body heat.

Raise the floor a few inches off the ground with cedar shavings or straw and make sure the entrance faces away from the wind.

Last resort: If pets don`t have outdoor shelter, create a windbreak in a protected corner with heavy items and tarp or plywood draped over as a roof.

Keep `em clean: Make sure to wipe pets` feet, legs and stomachs after they come in from the sleet or snow to get rid of any residual ice or salt.

Dress `em up: Coats covering from neck to tail can help keep pets with short hair warm.

Wake `em up: Bang on the hood of a vehicle before starting it to make sure that no cats have crawled inside to be near the warm engine.

Take `em with you: If you must evacuate your home, take your pets and enough supplies for them for at least five days with you. If they cannot be taken, confine them to a small space, which will help contain body heat, and have friends or relatives check them regularly.

(C) 2007 Tulsa World. via ProQuest Information and Learning Company; All Rights Reserved

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