Attend to your pets' needs for the frigid months ahead
Mar 08, 2000 | 381 views | 0 0 comments | 3 3 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Dear Editor: Cold weather has arrived and the time has come to get ready for another winter. The State of New Jersey Domestic Companion Animal Council asks your readers to think about their pets' needs also for the cold months ahead. In New Jersey, state law (4:22-17) mandates that any animal in a person's care must be provided with proper shelter or protection from the weather. Violators may be subject to a sizable fine or six months in jail, or both. Dogs or cats should not be left outdoors when the temperature drops dramatically and very young or old pets should always be kept inside. Dogs who are often kept outside need a draft-free, watertight shelter. A doghouse should not be more than 12 inches longer or three inches higher than the dog, since the dog's body heat cannot warm a space which is too large. Clean wood chips or straw provide a warm bed and stay drier than blankets or carpet. Make frequent checks of food and water to be sure they're not frozen. Chemicals such as anti-freeze can be deadly to animals. Even a small puddle of anti-freeze can kill or seriously injure a cat or dog. Anti-freeze containing propylene glycol, a safer chemical, is available. Other caustic chemicals used to melt ice and snow cannot only irritate your pets' paws, but can be toxic if they lick their feet. After walks, wipe your pets' paws with a moist cloth. A parked car's warm engine is an attractive resting place for cats who are outside on cold nights. Be sure to bang on the hood of your car before starting it so any cats inside will leave. If you feed birds, make sure food is available for them every day. Make it a happy and safe winter for the animals in your family. Nina Austenberg, Chairman State of NJ Domestic Companion Animal Council
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