Winter safety steps are encouraged for people, pets

Hypothermia and frost bite could become issues for some Oklahomans this week.
FROM STAFF REPORTS Published: February 1, 2011

Safety for pets

It's also important that Oklahomans provide safe conditions for their pets. The Humane Society of the United States urges pet owners not to leave pets outdoors when the temperature drops.

Wind chills are expected to be very low during this storm, potentially threatening a pet's life. If a pet does go outside, paws should be wiped dry of snow, ice and any possible corrosive material, such as melting salt, once the animal returns indoors.

If a dog spends significant time outdoors, the pet must be protected by a dry, draft-free doghouse that is large enough for the dog to sit and lie down comfortably, but small enough to hold in its body heat. The floor should be raised a few inches off the ground and covered with cedar shavings or straw. The house should be turned to face away from the wind, and the doorway should be covered with waterproof burlap or heavy plastic. Certain breeds, especially those with thin skin or very short fur, should be brought indoors.

Pets spending a lot of time outdoors need more food in the winter because keeping warm depletes energy. Routinely check a pet's water dish to make certain the water is fresh and unfrozen. Use plastic food and water bowls rather than metal. The Humane Society urges that if you're feeding homeless cats, be sure to provide an insulated shelter for them.

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