The Ottumwa Courier

Southeast Iowa

November 4, 2013

Getting your pets ready for winter

OSKALOOSA —

As the thermometer starts to dip, it's time to think about getting your pets ready for winter.

Whether they are indoor or outdoor pets, you can do many things to get your pets ready for cold and snow. Stephen Memorial Animal Shelter Executive Director Lindsey Sime has some tips for pet owners.

First are the common-sense things, she said.

“For an indoor dog, limit his outdoor activity when it gets cold outside,” she said.

If you have a dog such as a husky, the dog can be outdoors. However, if you have a short-hair or a small dog, the dog should not be outside for long, she said.

For outdoor dogs, be sure they have a dog house stuffed with insulating materials such as straw or other bedding to make it comfortable for them to sleep. Also, check the dog's water dish to make sure the water is not frozen, Sime said.

Sime said dehydration is an issue for pets in both hot and cold conditions.

“It's just as important to have an ample supply of water,” she said.

When you take your pet out for a walk this winter, be careful where you walk. Salt that has been applied to sidewalks and roads can harm your pet's foot pads, Sime said.

There is pet-safe forms of salt to apply on sidewalks that can be bought at discount retail stores, she said. Also, you can put a balm on your pet's paws so the pads do not dry out, she added.

Sime said giving a pet as a Christmas present is not the best move.

“I suggest you not get a pet for Christmas,” she said.

If you choose a dog for a gift, that is a long-term — up to 15-years — commitment. She said the person receiving the pet needs to be in on the selection process.

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