Weather Forecast


Care for animals when the mercury dips

As the weather turns much colder and humans struggle with the dangerous wind chills and snow, we can not forget to protect our companion animals when the mercury dips. And, we ask that if you see an animal in need of help during the winter months that you report it to authorities or take the time to help them yourself. Here are some common sense tips that you should practice in the winter months:

1. Keep your cat inside. Outdoors, felines can freeze or become lost.

2. Never let your dog off the leash on snow or ice, especially during a snowstorm--dogs can lose their scent and easily become lost. More dogs are lost during the winter than during any other season, so make sure yours always wears ID tags.

4. 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, and his paw pads may also bleed from snow or encrusted ice.

5. Never shave your dog down to the skin in winter, as a longer coat will provide more warmth. When you bathe your dog in the colder months, be sure to completely dry him before taking him out for a walk. Own a short-haired breed? Consider getting him a coat or sweater with a high collar or turtleneck with coverage from the base of the tail to the belly. For many dogs, this is regulation winter wear.

6. 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 causing the animal to freeze to death.

7. Puppies do not tolerate the cold as well as adult dogs, and may be difficult to housebreak during the winter. If your puppy appears to be sensitive to the weather, you may opt to paper-train him inside. If your dog is sensitive to the cold due to age, illness or breed type, take him outdoors only to relieve himself.

8.  Does your dog spend a lot of time engaged in outdoor activities? Increase his supply of food, particularly protein, to keep him--and his fur--in tip-top shape.

9. Like coolant, antifreeze is 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.

10. Make sure your companion animal has a warm and sheltered place to sleep, protected from the wind & cold, heated, off the floor and away from all drafts. A cozy dog or cat bed inside with a warm blanket or pillow is perfect.

The Humane Society of the Lakes is dedicated o the prevention of cruelty to animals through education, and public awareness. Properly caring for your animals during these cold MN winters is vitally important and it is the law. -- Beth Pridday, Detroit Lakes, HSL president