Stay Warm This Winter

December 4, 2014

Animals are sensitive to very cold damp weather, and just like us, need protection from bitter conditions that can seriously damage their health and well-being. In this article we’ll look at practical ways to help animals in shelters and households stay snug and warm.
If a dog’s or cat’s paw pads, ears or nose, are exposed to these raw elements, they can sustain lasting damage; and if they’re outside, or aren’t adequately protected in a dry, warm home or shelter, they can contract hypothermia or frostbite.
The shelter or home area should be roomy enough so that the animal can move about, and be free to sit or lie down comfortably. It should also be compact enough to contain the animal’s body heat. Ideally, if it’s not in a carpeted house, and is in a shelter or out-house, the flooring should be constructed so it’s several inches above the ground, otherwise it will be extremely cold to sit on. It can be covered with linoleum or plastic tiling, which is easy to keep hygienic. This can be layered with straw, or some kind of wood shavings. Old blankets, fleece, or other types of warm soft bedding could also be used; they give a sense of security, and the animals can happily curl up on or inside them. They can also keep horses dry and warm, and are essential if they’ve been body-clipped. The entrances and exits, as well as any other openings need to be covered with a strong durable sheet of commercial plastic. Unfortunately, heating costs can be difficult for animal welfare organizations to afford. Carrying out a small charity collection for spare blankets in your area is easy, and many people will have old ones that they will be happy to donate.
Give the animals water in plastic rather than metal bowls, as their tongue could stick to the metal and freeze. You should also regularly monitor the bowls to make sure that the water hasn’t turned into ice! Or if possible, buy water heaters or heated bowls. If the animals are let outside in the cold for extended periods, their bodies will lose more energy trying to stay warm, and you’ll need to give them more to eat.
Keeping animals happy and content in winter time is possible if we are resourceful, network, and get a little support from all the wonderful animal lovers in our neighborhoods.

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