Temperatures are cold outside which means pet owners need to take winter precautions to ensure pets stay warm this season. Lt. Thomas Romero with the Albuquerque Animal Welfare Department offers helpful tips that will keep your pet cozy all winter.
Residents of Bernalillo County and the City of Albuquerque can get free straw bedding while supplies last through the partnership between Bernalillo County Animal Care Services and Albuquerque Animal Welfare.
Albuquerque Animal Welfare Dept. reminds pet owners that it is a common misconception that dogs and cats don’t get cold. If you are cold, your animal is cold.
Most domestic cats and dogs are not well equipped for cold weather and can be susceptible to hypothermia and frostbite.
Signs of Hypothermia
- uncontrollable shivering
- decreased heartbeat and weak pulse
- stiff muscles
- lack of coordination
- pale or blue gums
If your pet must stay outside, straw is an inexpensive insulator and is perfect bedding as it retains heat and evaporates moisture. Hay doesn’t have the same qualities.
To use straw effectively, place a thick layer on the floor of your pet’s shelter and check it periodically for moisture as well as cleanliness. Switch out the straw as needed.
Animal Welfare says that the best place for your companion animal is inside your home and animals should be moved inside especially during cold weather.
Additional winter tips
- Check your pet’s water bowl for freezing. Glass and ceramic bowls will crack and break when water freezes.
- Pets kept primarily outdoors may require more food than other animals. Provide additional food to animals who spend a lot of time outside.
- Don’t leave an animal in a closed car during the winter. A car becomes like a refrigerator and the temperatures can be deadly.
- Keep antifreeze away from animals and children as it is highly poisonous and has a sweet taste
- Be cautious if your pet walks on salted or de-iced surfaces as animals will lick their paws which are covered in toxic substances. Rinse paws in warm water
- Check your pets’ paws for ice or snow that can form between their pads
- Wildlife will often seek warmth under the hood of a car. Band on the hood or honk the horn before starting the engine.
Additional pet information can be found online at the Albuquerque Animal Welfare Department’s website.
The Animal Welfare Department is seeking donations for medium to large portable dog houses to help pet owners who need assistance during the cold winter months. Donations can be dropped off at the department’s westside location located at 11800 Sunset Gardens Rd SW or the eastside location at 8920 Lomas Blvd.
The public can help support the Animal Welfare Department through monetary donations which are handled through Albuquerque Kennel Kompadres. Please state donation goes to Dog House Drive and make checks payable to Albuquerque Kennel Kompadres.