Cold dogs eat more. Or less? An owner's test
BY AMANDA FITE World Scene Writer
Wednesday, February 02, 2011
1/29/12 at 7:31 AM
Are you smart enough to keep pets safe as the temperature plummets this week?
Try this true-or-false quiz:
1. Dogs and cats are as tough as wild animals. They're fine in any weather.
2. If you're going to drive in cold weather, it helps to slap your car.
3. Dogs always know their way home.
4. Once you bring your dog inside from a walk, you're done. He'll dry off soon enough.
5. Pets are OK in cars in the winter, just not in the summer.
6. Feed your pet more when it's cold.
7. The dogs will be fine in the garage; just open the door.
8. Animals are immune to frostbite.
1. False. When the temperatures are going as low as they're predicted this week, keep dogs and cats inside. Rent a crate if you have to. Some short-haired breeds could use a coat or sweater.
Puppies do not tolerate the cold as well as adult dogs. If your dog is sensitive to the cold due to age, illness or breed type, take him outdoors only to relieve himself.
If your pet must be kept outside:
Provide a dry, elevated dog house with clean dry bedding and a flap over the opening.
Make sure the water bowl does not freeze. Heated water bowls are available.
Outdoor pets need more calories to produce body heat.
Booties allow your dog to walk in the snow and prevent injury from ice.
2. True. (Remember, it's a pet quiz.) During the winter, outdoor cats sometimes sleep under the hoods of cars. Bang loudly on the car hood before starting the engine to give any cat a chance to escape injury.
3. False. Never let your dog off the leash on snow or ice, especially during a snowstorm. Dogs can lose their scent and become lost. Make sure your dog always wears ID tags.
4. Trick question. He may thaw out soon enough once indoors, but snow and ice aren't the only thing you have to worry about him bringing inside. Thoroughly wipe off your dog's legs and stomach when he comes in out of the sleet, snow or ice. He can ingest salt, antifreeze or other potentially dangerous chemicals while licking his paws.
5. False. Never leave your dog or cat alone in a car during cold weather. A car can act as a refrigerator in the winter, holding in the cold and freezing the animal to death.
6. True, if the pet spends much time outdoors or active. Increase his supply of food, particularly protein.
7. Maybe. Watch out for coolant and antifreeze, a lethal poison for dogs and cats. Be sure to thoroughly clean up any spills from your vehicle, and consider using products that contain propylene glycol rather than ethylene glycol. Also stow other things out of reach that might be harmful: bug spray, etc.
8. False. Dogs and cats can get frost bitten ears, nose, and feet if left outside.
1-3 correct: Run, don't walk, to the library. You need some serious pet education. Your pet's in deep doo-doo.
4-6 correct: You've got the basics down. Your pet's got reason to wag.
7-8 correct: Top of the class! You're looking out for your own pets and others' too. We bet your pets are cared for in any weather.
Sources: ASPCA, Humane Society
Amanda Fite 581-8334
A cat named Brink studies a cluster of gold finches on a thistle feeder during Tuesday morning's blizzard. Courtesy