Humane Society of
Wayne County, New York

1475 County House Road, Lyons, NY 14489


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More than 25 years of shelter operations

This page was last modified on Sunday November 18, 2012

Oh The Weather Outside is Frightful

It happens every year in mid January -- the mercury dips well below zero and stays there for several days in a row. And when the mercury starts to climb again into the mid twenties or low thirties it feels like a heat wave. Even just a few days of these Arctic temperatures take their toll on our pets and us.

During the winter months make sure that your pet has dry, draft free housing when outside. It is the law. When the temperature drops, bring your pet inside where it is warm. A fur coat does not provide enough protection against sub-zero temperature.

Before starting your vehicle beep the horn or pound on the hood of the car. Cats when cold will climb into a warm vehicle engine. Please be cautious when starting your car.

Remove ice and snow from your pet's paws and coat immediately. Frostbite of exposed skin can happen in as little as fifteen minutes when the mercury drops below freezing. Frostbitten skin may turn reddish, gray or white and becomes scaly or sloughs off. If you suspect that your pet is suffering from frostbite, take your pet into a warm place and thaw the frostbitten area slowly. Apply warm, moist towels to the effected area, changing the towels frequently. Never rub frostbitten skin! Continue slowly warming the frostbitten skin until the normal skin color and temperature return. Contact your veterinarian immediately so he or she can evaluate the extent and seriousness of any permanent damage.

Rock salt and other snow removing (melting) agents can be toxic to pets. Read labels carefully and take the necessary precautions. Keep these products stored in a tight container out of reach of children and pets. Remove salt from your pet's paws immediately. In fact it is a good idea to wipe your pet's feet when they come in from the outside. Your floors will stay cleaner.

Ingestion of antifreeze even in a very small amount is fatal. Pets are attracted to antifreeze because it has a sweet taste. Thoroughly clean up all spilled antifreeze at once. If you suspect that your pet has ingested antifreeze contact your veterinarian immediately.

Staying warm when it is cold outside requires additional calories so increase the amount of food you give feed to your pet in the winter. Very young pet as well as older pets are more sensitive to colder temperatures and will require extra food and maybe even higher environmental temperatures.

When driving this winter be alert and drive cautiously. Snow banks left by plows obstructs your view of driveways and side streets so you may not see someone's pet entering the road. Moreover, drifts on the side of the road prevent an animal in the road from being able to get out of the way of an oncoming car.

Do not allow your dog to chase deer. Dogs can run on top of the snow where a deer will break through the snow.