Shelter: Cold a danger to pets

The area weather predictions for sub-zero temperatures prompts advice from the Hancock County Animal Shelter Foundation, which encourages people to take important steps to keep their pets and other animals alive, warm and safe.

“Taking a few simple steps for your pet during this time could literally mean the difference between life or death for that animal,” said Shelter Media Director Marjie DeFede. To do your part to keep pets safe, the shelter foundation offers the following advice:

1) Keep dogs and cats inside. It may not be easy, but please try. A garage or basement, even unheated, can suffice for temporary shelter until the thermometer rises. Companion animals have a slim chance of survival in sub-zero conditions.

2) If all indoor options fail, you can make an outdoor shelter for cats, using storage containers and straw. Dog houses also should be lined with plenty of straw, not blankets. Keep checking food bowls to keep from freezing. And consider moving any shelter onto a porch or position up against your house. Also, please call our shelter at (304)-387-4102 if you are looking for straw. We have a limited supply on hand to help pet owners.

3) If you must walk your dog, don’t let the dog off its leash. In snow or ice, a dog can lose its scent and get lost. More dogs are lost in the winter than any other time of year. Also, wipe your dog’s paws and stomach thoroughly after coming in from a walk, to remove any frozen debris or salt.

4) Clean up spilled antifreeze, windshield de-icer or any other winter driving products. All are lethal to dogs and cats.

5) Don’t shave your dog or cat. Their longer coat provides extra warmth.

6) Increase your dog or cat’s food intake. Extra calories help them to stay warm too. If you are having trouble with food expenses for your pet, please also contact the shelter for assistance resources.

7) Just like in the summer, do not leave your dog or cat alone in a car during the winter. Your vehicle can quickly turn into a refrigerator and cause the animal to freeze to death.

The Hancock County Animal Shelter Foundation is a 501c3 organization that operates the Hancock County Animal Shelter in New Manchester, West Virginia, through a contract with the Hancock County Commission. We are an open door facility for Hancock County residents and strive to avoid unnecessary euthanasia, so our shelter population is almost always at full capacity. Therefore, we are consistently seeking ways to encourage adoption of homeless pets to appropriate homes and for pet owners always to spay and neuter their animals. We also provide humane education and information as a public service.