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Keeping Your Pets Safe During Cold Weather

Keeping Your Pets Safe During Cold Weather

With temperatures beginning to drop below freezing, enjoying a little sunlight during the day can be good, but nighttime is a different story.  Diane Webber, Program Manager at Cedar Rapids Animal Care & Control said cold weather can make health issues worse for your pet, “The best to do is to bring pets indoors.  Even outdoor pets.  If pets do want to be outside, you should make sure they have fresh water, food, and a warm place they can go, such as a heated kennel or homemade outdoor shelter.” 

Here are a few additional guidelines that will help you keep your pets safe: 

  1. Keep the cat inside. Outdoors, felines can freeze, become lost or be stolen, injured or killed.  During the winter, outdoor cats sometimes sleep under the hoods of cars. When the motor is started, the cat can be injured or killed by the fan belt. If there are outdoor cats in your area, bang loudly on the car hood before starting the engine to give the cat a chance to escape.  
  2. 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.  
  3. 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. 
  4. 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. 
  5. If your dog is sensitive to the cold due to age, illness or breed type, take him outdoors only to relieve himself.  
  6. Does your dog spend a lot of time engaged in outdoor activities? Animals burn more calories in the winter maintaining their body temperature.  So increase his supply of food, particularly protein, to keep him, and his fur, in tip-top shape.  
  7. 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. Visit the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center more information.  
  8. Cedar Rapids has an ordinance that requires that all pets must have adequate shelter from the elements – a crate or kennel is not enough when the temperatures dip below freezing. 

Cedar Rapids Municipal Code Chapter 23.01 Definitions:

Adequate protection from the elements: A protected area, in addition to a doghouse or similar structure, that provides shade from the sun and protection from wind, rain, snow and extremes of hot and cold. 

Adequate shelter:  A dog house or similar structure, for each animal chained, tethered, penned or otherwise restrained or confined outdoors, suitable for the species, age, condition and size of the animal; that has solid sides, floor and top that do not leak air or moisture and a cover over the doorway which keeps the doghouse or structure dry and allows the animal unlimited access and egress from the doghouse or structure; is clean, safe, enables the animal to be clean and dry and protects the animal from injury, rain, sleet, snow, hail, direct sunlight, the adverse effects of heat or cold, physical suffering, and impairment of health; is large enough for the animal to stand up, lie down and stretch comfortably and make all other normal bodily movements in a comfortable, normal position for the animal; has a floor that is elevated from the ground and contains insulation between the floor and ground. A carrier or crate is not adequate shelter. 

Cedar Rapids Municipal Code Chapter 23.16 Abuse of Animals:

(l) Chaining, tethering, penning or otherwise restraining or confining an animal outdoors for more than 15 minutes without unlimited access to adequate food, adequate water, adequate shelter and adequate protection from the elements when the temperature falls below 30 degrees Fahrenheit with wind chill factor applied or when the heat index reaches or exceeds 85 degrees.

(m) Chaining, tethering, penning or otherwise restraining or confining an animal outdoors without providing the animal unlimited access to an area, in addition to their doghouse or similar structure, that provides adequate protection from the elements.


About Cedar Rapids Animal Care & Control

The shelter is located at 900 76th Avenue Dr. SW on the Kirkwood College Campus directly behind Washington Hall.  You can view a list of the many wonderful pets we have available for adoption by visiting our PetFinder website at http://www.petfinder.com/shelters/IA125.html.  Shelter hours are Monday-Saturday, Noon to 5:00 p.m.


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