The Lincoln County Sheriff’s office has provided a list of tips to keep domesticated animals safe during the upcoming winter months:
Monitor food intake
Outdoor pets will need more food than our indoor friends.
“Pets who live outdoors should be fed a bit more in the winter because they need the extra calories to stay warm,” the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office said. “Indoor pets typically receive less exercise during cold weather and may require fewer calories.”
Outdoor pets need shelter too
Oregon law requires that animal companions are given some form of shelter from disagreeable weather. They must also have access to fresh water.
“Consider a special bowl that prevents the water from freezing,” the sheriff’s office said. “In severe weather, allow your pet in your house or garage.”
Check ears, paws, and tails
Steps should be taken to keep extremities like ears, paws, and tails warm on chilly days and frosty nights. Check to make sure ice, road salt, or gravel isn’t building up between their paws during winter weather walks, as this may cause toe-bean irritation.
Avoid open water
Keep swim-happy pets on a leash when around open water or thin, unstable ice.
“Hypothermia can set in quickly and your dog may be unable to get out of the water,” LCSO said.
Check your engine, for goodness’ sake
Before starting your car, check to make sure that no clever cats are napping under the hood of your car. Cats, the sheriff’s office said, can usually be shooed away with a quick honk or a bang on the hood.
Keep holiday decorations out of reach
Cracked Christmas ornaments are notoriously sharp and can cause serious lacerations. Seasonal plants are also a health hazard for curious pets.
“Remember that poinsettias, holly, mistletoe, and other plants can be toxic if ingested,” the LCSO said.
Keep antifreeze away from pets at all times
Antifreeze is severely toxic to pets. However, “pet-safe” brands are available that contain propylene glycol instead of ethylene glycol. Spilled antifreeze can be soaked up with cat litter and should be immediately thrown out.
“Ingesting antifreeze can be fatal for your dog or cat,” the sheriff’s office said. “It has a sweet taste and even a tiny amount can cause severe kidney damage and even death.”