As the temperatures dip, we need to be sure our pets are well protected from the elements. Shelter from rain, snow and wind are essential to keep them comfortable, and the best way to do that is to keep pets indoors. A pet door allows them to go in and out while owners are away from home.
Some heavy coated breeds can tolerate outdoor kenneling if they have a well-insulated shelter that is clean and dry. The shelter should be up off the cold, wet ground. The opening needs to be away from the direction of the prevailing wind. Cover the opening with a baffle or canvas flap.
Concrete is unacceptable as flooring for pets. First, it is too hard a surface and, second, it wicks heat away from an animal's body, making the cold extremely uncomfortable.
An outdoor pet needs access to fresh water that doesn't freeze. An electric water bowl heater solves the problem nicely. During cold weather, outdoor pets should be fed larger portions because they have to burn so many calories to keep warm.
When taking pets outside to exercise in cold weather, they can get frostbite on their ears, paws, tails and scrotum. Check their paws for cuts or ice balls. If they walk on surfaces that have been treated with corrosive salt or chemicals, wipe their paws with a damp cloth when they come in. Bag balm is wonderful for sore paws!
Geriatric pets experience considerable discomfort in cold weather, as it makes already stiff joints even stiffer. We recommend that older pets be kept inside during inclement weather except for brief potty outings.
Short-coated breeds can wear jackets or sweaters while outdoors. A rule of thumb is that if it's too cold for you to be outside, it's too cold for your pet. If a pet is shivering, it needs to be brought inside to warm up. If it is wet, dry its coat with towels or a hair dryer. Try heating up a can of chicken noodle soup and mixing in dry food for a cold animal.
Cats particularly dislike being cold, as is evidenced by their continuous quest for the warmth of sunshine. They would much rather be inside when it's cold, especially at night. To make an inexpensive cat bed, line a cat-sized cardboard box with a plush, fleece throw. A number of local businesses carry reasonably priced fleece throws in bright colors. They are durable, washable and dry much faster than other fabrics.
And now for this week's offering of adoptable pets:
Hot Shot is a cute 4-month-old neutered male kitten. He sparks your interest with his trim, pewter-gray and snow-white coat. He looks like the quiet type until you start petting him and he purrs with pleasure. Hot Shot is fixin' to set a ring of fire around your heart. He's got a burning desire to hook up with a feline fancier to kindle a long term relationship!
Dixie is a very friendly 3-year-old spayed female tan, black and white hound mix. She has a lovely well-proportioned body with long, slender legs and a tail that curls into a circle. But her best feature is her inner beauty. She is well behaved and walks like a princess on leash -- easy as pie. She is a sensitive and responsive dog who listens to you and obeys. She gets along great with other dogs at the dog park. Her positive attitude and even disposition make her a highly desirable companion. We give Miss Dixie the Golden Bone Award!
Anthony is a comical 16-year-old neutered male Chihuahua/Corgi mix. He is currently serving as our resident Welcome Wagon dog and sits on a plush cushion in front of the heater, greeting people as they come and go. Notice in his picture that he has two toys he cannot be separated from. What he would really like is to be in a home where he can be pampered and spoiled. Because of his age, he has arthritis, cataracts, some hearing loss and needs medication for liver problems. When he is stiff, he needs to be carried outside to potty. He needs to be the only dog in the household. Despite his infirmities, Anthony has an upbeat personality and a zest for life. Therefore we hope to place him with an understanding, supportive family for the rest of his days.
Cassie is a heaven-sent one-year-old spayed female tabby cat. Her muted pale ash-grey tabby coat is very special. She has an angelic expression and a sweet, loving nature. She gets along well with the other cats in her kennel and enjoys human visitors. She would be on cloud nine if she gets a new home for the holidays.
Prissy is a gorgeous one-year-old spayed female calico kitty. Her coat of many colors is like a patchwork crazy quilt. Prissy is a very friendly, outgoing cat who likes attention and activity. She has taken a younger cat named Fancy under her paw and they are often seen curled up together keeping warm. You will love this sweet Miss Purrsonality!
The Payson Humane Society animal shelter is located at 812 S. McLane Rd.