Bitter cold prompts tips for Iowa dog owners

posted by Newsradio 1040 WHO -

(Des Moines, Iowa)  The Animal Rescue League off Iowa is reminding dog owners,  pets are expending more energy during these extreme cold temperatures, and could probably use more dog food, more protein, and fresh, unfrozen water.   

Spokesperson Ashley Pech tells WHO Radio News, pet owners probably don't need to change their pets diets dramatically.   She notes, however, dogs that typically spend a lot of time outdoors, should be brought in more during these bitter temperatures.   

Pech also reminds pet owners that more dogs get lost during the winter months, so it's a good idea to make sure your pets have updated tag and microchip information, so if they're lost, they can be reunited with you.

She says dogs will let you know just how much cold they can tolerate, and may not want to stay outdoors too long.  

The Animal Rescue League is offering additional cold weather tips:

Check twice before starting your car. Outdoor cats often climb under the hoods of cars to keep warm. When the motor starts, the cat may be injured or killed by the fan belt. Knock or bang loudly on the hood of your car before starting it to give cats a chance to escape. 

Never leave your cat or dog in a vehicle in cold weather. The vehicle acts as a refrigerator, keeping the cold in and causing the animal to freeze.

Antifreeze may be good for your car but it is lethal for dogs and cats. Clean up any spills thoroughly and consider using products that contain propylene glycol rather than ethylene glycol.

Towel dry your dog’s paws, legs and stomach when he comes in out of winter weather. Chemical agents used to melt ice can be dangerous for your dog to ingest while licking his paws. Snow and encrusted ice may also cause your dog’s paw pads to bleed. 

Never shave your dog to the skin in the winter. Dogs need their coat to provide warmth. When you give your dog a bath in the winter, be sure he is thoroughly dry before letting him outside. For dogs with shorter coats, consider getting a coat or sweater that covers his body from the base of the tail to the belly. Keep pets’ fur mat free. Mats do not allow the pet’s coat to keep the animal warm