Pets, Weather & Disasters

During Cold Weather
  • Bring all pets indoors when temperatures drop below 32 degrees F.
  • If your dog lives outside, make sure to provide a well-insulated and draft-free dog house. the opening should face south with a sturdy, flexible covering. Use dry bedding like straw, not towels.
  • Keep pets warm, dry and away from drafts while inside. A tile or uncarpeted floor may become very cold. Place blankets and pads on floors.
  • Groom your pet regularly . his coat needs to be groomed to keep him properly insulated.
  • Feed your pet additional calories if he spends a lot of time outdoors or is a working animal. It takes more energy in the winter to keep body temps regulated.
  • If you own a short-haired breed, consider a warm sweater for your dog. This may seem like a luxury but it is necessary for many pets with little protection.
  • Puppies and small dogs do not tolerate the cold as well as larger dogs. Place newspapers down on your porch or yard to help make housetraining easier.
  • Towel or blow-dry your dog if he gets wet from rain or snow . dry and clean his paws, too.
  • Be very careful that your pet does not eat antifreeze which collects or driveways and roads. it is lethal.
  • Rock salt, used to melt ice on sidewalks may irritate footpads. Be sure to rince and dry your dog's feet after being outside.
  • Provide plenty of fresh water . snow is no substitute for water.
  • Frostbite is a winter hazard . to prevent it on ears, tail, and feet keep your pet inside.
  • Be very careful around fireplaces and portable heaters. they care severely burn your pet. Make sure all fireplaces have screens and keep portable heaters out of reach.

During Hot Weather
  • Always make sure outdoor pets have access to clean water at all times.
  • Provide shade at all times of the day especially if the animal is outdoors.
  • Remember to secure plastic water bowls (metal bowls conduct heat) to the ground so your pet cannot accidentally tip it over.
  • Be sensitive to old or overweight pets in hot weather. Keep them in air conditioning as much as possible.
  • Be careful not to allow pets in areas that may have been sprayed with insecticides and other chemicals . they can poison your pet.
  • Be aware if your pet is showing signs of heat exhaustion (excessive panting, lethargic behavior). Immediately begin treatment by applying cold water to your pet's extremities. See your vet immediately.
  • Keep your pet well groomed. Have your vet recommend a safe, effective flea and tick control program.
  • Remember during the summer months mosquitoes are out. Make sure your pet is tested by a vet for Heartworm Disease and begin year-round Heartworm prevention medication.
  • Be sure there are no open, unscreened windows or doors through which your pet can fall or jump.
  • Never leave your pet unattended in a parked car. The temp in a car can reach 100 degrees in minutes.
  • Remember that if you run or jog with your dog, take frequent water breaks for yourself and your dog. Also remember that asphalt and concrete get hot quickly . on extremely hot days, leave your dog at home. Exercise your pet in the cool morning or evening.
  • Remember that coolant, even in tiny doses, is a lethal poison for dogs and cats. Clean up any spills from your vehicle.
  • Remember that during the summer, your dog is at risk of getting fly bites. If untreated, these bites can become bloody and infected. Your vet can prescribe a repellant ointment or gel to heal the sores.

Disaster Preparedness
Be sure your pet is prepared for whatever Mother Nature sends your way. For starters, include two phone numbers on your pet's tag in case your home phone becomes disconnected. Microchip your pet as a permanent means of identification. Create a "Pet Disaster Kit" in a sturdy, Rubbermaid-type trash can on wheels with a tight-fitting lid that is ready to take at a moment's notice. Include:
  • favorite toy
  • extra leads and collars
  • canned pet food and can opener
  • bowls
  • bottled water
  • towels
  • cat carriers
  • litter box and litter
  • dog crates
  • current photos of pets in case you are separated from your pet and need proof of ownership
  • extra medications and copies of medical records
  • a list of emergency veterinarians and their phone numbers
  • a pet first aid kit

Also consider:
  • Contacting hotels/motels in your area to check policies on accepting pets and restrictions on number, size and species.
  • Ask friends, relatives or others outside the affected area whether they could shelter your animals during the transition after a disaster.
  • Prepare a list of boarding facilities and veterinarians who could shelter animals in an emergency; include 24-hour phone numbers.
  • Ask local animal shelters if they provide emergency shelter or foster care for pets in a disaster. Animal shelters may be overburdened caring for the animals they already have as well as those displaced by a disaster, so this should be your last resort.