September 18, 2018Blog

What Homeless Citizens Can Do For Their Animals This Winter

By Robert Summers

Winter savages all of us in cold climates, and domestic animals are no different. While wild animals such as wolves and Siberian tigers have biological strategies to keep them warm, domestic animals have no such tactics. It is up to us to protect them as best we can.

This from the ASPCA:
• Bring a towel on long walks to clean off stinging, irritated paws. After each walk, wash and dry your pet’s feet to remove ice, salt and chemicals-and check for cracks in paw pads or redness between the toes.
• Trim long-haired dogs to minimize the clinging of ice balls, salt crystals and de-icing chemicals that can dry on the skin. But do not SHAVE him. Bathe your pets as little as possible during cold spells.
• Dressing your pet in a sweater or coat will help to retain body heat and prevent skin from getting dry.
• Booties help minimize contact with painful salt crystals, poisonous anti-freeze and chemical ice-melting agents. They can also help prevent sand and salt from getting lodged in between bare toes, causing irritation.
• Massaging petroleum jelly [or vegetable oil] into paw pads before going outside helps to protect from salt and chemical agents. And moisturizing after a good toweling off helps to heal chapped paws.
• Brushing your pet regularly not only gets rid of dead hair, but also stimulates blood circulation, improving the skin’s overall condition.
• Pets burn extra energy by trying to stay warm in wintertime, sometimes causing dehydration. Feeding your pet a little bit more during the cold weather and making sure she has plenty of water to drink will help to keep her well-hydrated, and her skin less dry.
• Remember, if the weather’s too cold for you, it’s probably too cold for your pet. Animal companions should remain indoors as much as possible during the winter months and never be left alone in vehicles when the mercury drops.
If you spot wounds or redness on your pet’s feet, get veterinarian help immediately.
Put socks on your animals at night

During the daytime, he needs the traction of his pads to negotiate the ground except in summer on rough surfaces. But put socks on him at night. (Volunteers, try giving out baby socks and see what response you get.) They DO make dog socks with traction pads so if they’re not too expensive, you might try them. THIS ALL GOES FOR CATS TOO! Don’t walk your dog in the winter with socks on, they will only get soaked and freeze.

Socks and some waterproof booties can be purchased for as little as $10 each if you can handle that amount.

(Depending on size of dog or cat, baby socks may work as is, if not too tight on top)
They might not be fashionable, but dog paw socks can help speed up medical treatment by keeping the medicine on longer and protecting your pooch’s feet from licking, biting and chewing. Dog paw socks can also protect sensitive feet from allergens and hot or rough surfaces. [AND KEEP THEM WARM ON WINTER NIGHTS]

1. Cut a small slit about 1 inch from the top of each sock
2. Measure out and cut a piece of elastic, without stretching, from one front elbow of the dog, across the back to the other front elbow. When assembled, this piece of elastic will stretch across the dog’s shoulders and attach to the top of each sock on the front paws to keep the socks up.
3. Push one end of the elastic through the cut slit in one of the front socks and tie it loosely on to the rest of the elastic on the other side of the slit. The elastic should form a loop at the top of the sock. Leave the knot somewhat loose so that the harness can be adjusted to an exact fit.
4. Repeat Step 3 for the other front sock with the opposite end of the elastic.
5. Measure out and cut a piece of elastic, without stretching, from one rear elbow of the dog, across the back to the other rear elbow.
6. Push one end of the elastic through the cut slit in one of the rear socks and tie it loosely on to the rest of the elastic.
7. Repeat Step 3 for the other rear sock with the opposite end of the elastic.
8. Measure out and cut a piece of elastic, without stretching, from the shoulder to the hips of the dog.
9. Tie the center piece of elastic loosely on to the center point of both the front and rear pieces of elastic to create a harness that will go over the dog’s back.
10. Place the socks on the dog, with the elastic across the back.
11. Tighten or loosen the knots on each sock and on the center piece of elastic as needed to make the socks fit snugly, but not so tight that the elastic pulls on the dog’s back.
Funny compilation of dogs in socks

Full body insulated dog suit in many sizes.  about $40.00

  • Don’t let animals lick salt or ANTI FREEZE!
  • Feed him a little bit more food—the cold takes more energy to combat.
  • Avoid snow
  • Keep toe fur trimmed short
  • Short walks
  • Don’t let your animal become dehydrated. He may be disinclined to drink in the winter, but give him lots of incentive.
  • If your dog’s ears, or body are really cold–he is too cold.
  • Dogs do get colds—if you can, get medical attention, always. But here are some home remedies you can try.
  • If your dog shakes his head, he may have an ear infection, here’s what you can do:
  • Take apple cider vinegar NEVER STRAIGHT REGULAR VINEGAR and put it in a glass with equal parts distilled water. Rinse the ear.
  • Can you put peroxide in a dog’s ear for an ear infection?
    This 3% solution works wonders on dogs that have chronic yeast or bacterial infections in their ears.
    Another ear cleaning solution you can mix at home is 1 part hydrogen peroxide to 1 part water. Never use alcohol to clean your dog’s ears, or straight vinegar. This will be extremely painful to your pet.

1. Cats who live outside are vulnerable to the cold, wind, snow and ice of winter.
2. Well-built, insulated shelters can help outdoor cats stay warm and dry—even during a snowy winter. … Do what you can.
3. Outdoor cats can thrive in winter with a reliable source of food and water.
4. Cats need extra food during winter and fresh water twice a day. …
5. Warm up canned food and water before serving, or use a heated bowl. …
6. Spray insulation foam into the underside of plastic feeding dishes to keep wet food from freezing.
7. If you can, build some sort of shelter, do not put newspaper or towel in it for fear of fleas and allergens.
8. 32° is as cold as a feral cat can stand

Do what you can to keep outside water from freezing. Here’s an old trick used by horse owners to keep buckets of water out in the pasture from freezing. Take an old black tire (that’s off its rim) and fill it with rocks. Then tightly wedge a large bucket in the tire’s hole and fill with water. During the day, the tire absorbs sunlight and heats the rocks stuffed inside. The rocks in turn radiate heat and keep the water from freezing. For another way to use old tires to prevent freezing water, check out Mother Earth News.