COURTESY of The Times Herald Record
By Mary Esparra
Published: 2:00 AM – 01/02/14
Last updated: 11:42 AM – 01/02/14

I try to remember to bang on my car’s hood before I enter it. I don’t leave antifreeze lying around, and I wipe my dog’s paws after she has walked on rock salt. These are a few things I have learned from our shelter folk to keep my pets, and other animals, safe during the harsh winter months.

“If the dog is going to be outside for a half hour, hour-plus, he has to have shelter that’s insulated, raised off the ground a couple of inches, and not be on the freezing ground,” advised Suzyn Barron, president of the Warwick Valley Humane Society. “It should be facing away from the north wind, and most importantly, it should be sized appropriately. If it’s too big, it won’t heat up from their body heat. If it’s too small, it’s uncomfortable. It’s the law.”

Barron also warns that small dogs shouldn’t be left unattended outside for an extended length of time.

“Not only because of the cold, but they become a target for other animals,” she said.

Outside animals need to build up body fat in the winter months, so they require more food and access to unfrozen drinking water. Barron’s shelter gets many complaints each winter about outside pets without fresh water.

“They make these electric, heated water bowls you can buy at any Tractor Supply store or home center or hardware store,” said Barron. “There is no reason that any animal outside as a pet should have frozen water.”

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