Help keep your pet safe during the colder months by following these simple guidelines:
- Don't leave dogs outdoors when the temperature drops. Dogs and cats are safer indoors, except when taken out for supervised exercise. Regardless of the season, shorthaired, very young, or old dogs and all cats should never be left outside without supervision. Short-coated dogs may feel more comfortable wearing a sweater during walks.
- Pets who spend a lot of time outdoors need more food in the winter because keeping warm depletes energy. Routinely check your pet's water dish to make certain the water is fresh and unfrozen. Use plastic food and water bowls rather than metal; when the temperature is low, your pet's tongue can stick and freeze to metal.
- Warm engines in parked cars attract cats and small wildlife, who may crawl up under the hood. To avoid injuring any hidden animals, bang on your car's hood to scare them away before starting your engine.
- The salt and other chemicals used to melt snow and ice can irritate the pads of your pet's feet and may be harmful if ingested. Wipe the feet with a damp towel before your pet licks them to remove snow packed between your pet's paws. Pet-friendly ice melts are available at many pet supply stores across the nation or online.
- Antifreeze is a deadly poison, but it has a sweet taste that can attract animals and children. Wipe up spills and store antifreeze (and all household chemicals) out of reach. Better yet, use antifreeze-coolant made with propylene glycol, which is less toxic in small amounts than traditional ethylene glycol antifreeze.
- No matter what the temperature, wind chill can threaten a pet's life. A dog or cat is happiest and healthiest when kept indoors. If your dog spends significant time outdoors, however, he/she must be protected by a dry, draft-free doghouse that is large enough to allow the dog to sit and lie down comfortably, but small enough to hold in his/her 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.
- If you're feeding homeless cats, be sure to provide an insulated shelter for them.
Information on Dogs & Cats
Please read these very informative articles on topics ranging from the problems with the overpopulation of dogs and cats to useful techniques for caring for your dogs and cats.
Hurricanes & Your Pets
Every member of your family should know what he or she needs to take when you evacuate. You also should prepare supplies for your pets. Stock up on nonperishables well ahead of time, add perishable items at the last minute, and have everything ready to go at a moment's notice. Keep everything accessible, stored in sturdy containers (duffel bags, covered trash containers, etc.) that can be carried easily.
Place the following items in a waterproof container so you're ready to go if you need to evacuate.
Dogs and Cats
- Your veterinarian's contact name and phone number
- Copies of pet vaccination records
- Extra collar
- Food and water bowls
- Bottled water
- Paper Towels
- Plastic baggies for picking up pet waste
- Muzzle, if necessary
- First aid kit
- Current photo of your pet
- 5-day supply of pet food and can opener if you need one
- Kitty litter
- Small travel kitty litter box
- Several pillowcases for transporting
- Heating Pad
- Water Bowl
Small mammals (in small carriers)
- Bedding material
- Food bowl and water bottle
Birds (in carrier with perch inside)
- Don't leave your pet behind.
- Don't rely on the city to evacuate or care for your pet.
- Don't leave your pet tied up outside to a tree or a fence. They can't escape water, wind, or falling items or they'll die trying to escape.
- Don't leave your pet indoors; floods from tidal surges can trap your animal in a house.
- Don't plan to leave your pet anywhere within the hurricane strike zone.
- Don't leave your pet at a boarding facility in the strike zone. There's no guarantee they have an evacuation plan.
- Choose an evacuation destination in advance of an evacuation order. Consider pet-friendly hotels, family, friends, and boarding facilities outside of the danger area. Pet friendly hotels can be found by visiting two websites www.petswelcome.com or www.petsallowed-hotels.com. If you don't have a computer, you can also visit a local library or the LA/SPCA.
- Call or check the website of the Louisiana Department of Agriculture & Forestry or the LA/SPCA to find out where pet-friendly shelters may be located. These should be used as a last resort; they fill quickly on a first-come, first-served basis. You will be required to care for your pet so staying close-by the pet-friendly shelter is required.
- Check your pet's boarding facility's evacuation plans before going on vacation. Many veterinarians were forced to leave their clients' pets behind when Hurricane Katrina threatened New Orleans. Some people who boarded their pets while on vacation were unable to get back and their pets died. Make sure your boarding facility has a plan in advance in case you are unable to come home to retrieve your pet.
- Keep a hurricane-ready pack for your pet so you can pick up and go without forgetting important items.
Pet Travel Carrier
- Get a portable secure and covered pet carrier in advance (carriers immediately sell out when evacuation orders are called). The carrier should be large enough so that your pet can completely turn around.
- Mark your name, address, and phone number on the carrier and that of an alternate contact outside the strike zone.
- Get a properly fitted collar with up-to-date rabies and identification tags. Add a phone number that will allow you to be reached outside the disaster zone. LA/SPCA is giving away free tags for a limited time.
- Microchip your pet. A microchip ensures that your pet is identifi ed in case his/her collar/tag is lost. Make sure your address is up-to-date with the microchipping company.
Health Records & Medication
- All boarding facilities and veterinarian offices require proof of immunization before accepting animals. They will not risk the health and safety of the animals on-site regardless of how much pleading you do.
Planning and preparation will help you weather the disaster, but your home may be a very different place afterward, whether you have taken shelter at home or elsewhere, be patient with your pets after a disaster. Try to get them back into their normal routines as soon as possible, and be ready for behavioral problems that may result from the stress of the situation. If behavioral problems persist, or if your pet seems to be having any health problems, talk to your veterinarian.
NHS is a nonprofit organization incorporated in Delaware that provides funding to animal shelters nationally, not just in Delaware. NHS solicits and sells raffles to a national market and provides funding to local non-profits to help animal over population in any of the 50 states. Delaware supporters will be used for the benefit of Delaware non profits whose mission is related to animal care, shelters or programs to fight animal over population. In the past NHS has given to Delaware Humane Society and Faithful Friends.