I always say that friends are the family we chose. ... Is it any wonder dogs are called "man's best friend"? -- unknown
Here are more cold-weather tips I hope you will find helpful.
When winter chills strike we can put on a sweater, crank up the heating, or put another log on the fire. Your pets grow a winter coat but it is not always enough. There are things you can do to make your pets healthier, safer, and more comfortable through the winter months.
If your pets have no heated shelter, keep an eye on the temperature. As a rule of thumb you should consider getting your pet indoors at 15 degrees F. Remember the wind chill, which can drop the temperature much more than what the thermometer is showing; your pet may also get frostbite if it's outside too long. Consider a heated pet house because the older your pet gets, or if it is sick or pregnant, a heated pet house is a boon to your pet's health and comfort. However, it is no use heating a pet house if that heat is going to dissipate to the outside. Make sure that your pet house is elevated off the ground (placing the house on a pallet can achieve this) and that its floor, walls, and roof are insulated; consider moving your pet house into a garage or outbuilding if your winters are severe. There are many products you can choose from to suit your budget such as:
* A heated pad (some can also be hung on a wall)
* A heated bed
* A wall mounted heater box (basically a heater lamp in a metal box)
* Electric radiant floor heating
* Combination heaters and air conditioning units for pets
* Microwavable pet-bed warmer
There is some debate over whether it is necessary for a dog to wear a coat or a sweater. However, particularly for smaller dogs, and for dogs that do not go outside for prolonged periods in winter, if your pet is happy to wear one then, why not?
If your pets spend any time outside during winter then they will need access to unfrozen water. Again, there are many products that you can consider:
* Heated bowls
* Heated bowls with automated filling
* Hose heaters
* Heated water bottles for small animals
* Bird-bath heaters for welcome winter visitors
You will be walking your dog and unless you fit it with shoes or boots, which is fine if your dog is happy with them, your dog will pick up rock salt on its footpads. Left alone, rock salt will irritate your dog's footpads and they may become sore. Do not allow your dog to lick its feet, which could cause diarrhea and vomiting, and make sure that you wash and dry your dog's feet when you return from your walk. Trim the hairs between your pet's toes to minimize the amount of ice and snow it collects. You could also rub petroleum jelly on your pets foot pads. Around your own home, consider using a pet-friendly ice melt.
Apart from ice melt, your pet may come into contact with antifreeze. The taste of antifreeze is sweet and attractive, yet it is a deadly poison. If you are using antifreeze, wipe up any spills and keep it well out of reach. Better yet, consider using an antifreeze-coolant made with propylene glycol, which can be ingested in small amounts without causing significant harm.
In winter the humidity of the atmosphere is usually less. Your pet's skin will be drier and could flake. To help avoid this, brush your pet regularly, minimize the frequency of baths, and feed your pet a healthy diet; avoid extra oil or feed supplements unless your vet recommends it. Be vigilant, skin problems are most likely present when your pet has dry, flaky skin, its skin looks sore or has open sores, is losing excess hair, its coat is dry and hair pulls out easily, and if your pet is nibbling and biting at itself.
After a spell outside, monitor your pet's ears, paws, and tail, which could get frostbitten. Damage to your pet's tissues will not show up for several days; however, the affected areas will feel very cold. If you suspect frostbite you could try soaking the affected areas in warm water for about 20 minutes but do not massage the frostbitten area. Keep your pet warm and wrapped up and take it to the vet as soon as you can.
Winter is a good time to take your pet to the vet for a checkup, especially if you live in a high-mosquito area where your pet could have been bitten and possibly been infested with heartworm larvae, which could prove fatal if left untreated. With your pet spending more time indoors during the winter with your family, and in the case of cats and dogs possibly carrying roundworms, hookworms, and some types of tapeworms, it is a good idea for your vet to check out your pet and treat or implement preventative measures as necessary. (Source:Ian McInnes)
Check us out on dyerhumane.org or petfinder.com and type 38024 zip to see our shelter and many of the shelter pets. Better yet, please visit the shelter every day if you want to add a fur kid to your household. We receive 20 new pets every day.
As mentioned above, we desperately need dog blankets and sleeping bags for our dogs and puppies. We also need volunteers and fosters. Every week I receive questions about what is required. Our volunteers socialize pets, walk dogs, play with puppies and kittens, give pets a bath and brush them to make them more adoptable, hand out treats and toys, and any other way you want to help on your own schedule. Foster a pet for a two-week period or longer. Many times we have babies who need extra care such as bottle feeding until eating well on their own. If a pet is going to rescue, they require a two-week quarantine period. You save the foster pet's life and the one who takes its place. Call or stop by the shelter office for details. If you can't foster or volunteer, please donate. Besides dog blankets, we need bath towels, no-tears pet shampoo, sweaters for our small dogs and puppies, good-quality dog and puppy food, cat and kitten food, plus formula for both and pet bottles. The pets appreciate treats and toys, also. Please no small toys because the dogs will choke. Also no bead eyes/noses, scarves, beanie babies, etc. Medium and large-size stuffed animals/toys are needed. The babies love to cuddle with a soft, stuffed animal. Since we had a mild winter, fleas are very bad this year and we need Adams' Flea Mist for dogs/puppies and cats/kittens. We also need collars, leashes, paper towels, bleach, office supplies, hand sanitizer, etc. We ask visitors to use hand sanitizer before and after they touch pets. We make every effort to keep our pets disease free. As soon as pets arrive at the shelter they are given their first round of shots if they are old enough.
Your donations are very important to our shelter and stay in Dyer County. They will only help Dyersburg/Dyer County homeless animals. We do not receive any help from national organizations such as ASPCA, PETA, or HSUS. We are a 501(c)(3) nonprofit and have been helping local homeless pets for over 30 years. Specify who your donation is to with complete address where notification or acknowledgment should be sent and your complete address. We will do the rest. Categories are: The Beagley Fund (heartworm treatment for shelter pets only), General Fund, Champ Lewis Fund (monetary pet adoption assistance), Save a Life Makeover (professionally clip and groom to make a pet more adoptable), Honorariums and Memorials. Please mail your tax deductible check to the Dyersburg/Dyer County Humane Society, P.O. Box 223, Dyersburg, TN 38025-0223. Thank you for helping the animals.
Shelter hours are 10 a.m.-4 p.m., Monday through Friday and 9 a.m.-2 p.m. on Saturday. The shelter is closed to the public on Sunday. We are located at 1120 E. Court St. and phone number is 285-4889.