That fuzzy fur coat covering the family pet isn't always adequate to ward off the debilitating effects of winter, the Humane Society of Utah warns.
"Every year, we investigate many cases of animal suffering and death that could have been prevented by observing a few simple guidelines," said spokeswoman Katharine Brant.Cats or dogs that spend any time outdoors should have a well-insulated shelter with dry bedding that can be easily replaced. Pets that are very old or very young, ill or that have short hair should not be kept outdoors at all. Livestock should be provided with at least a windbreak, and hay should be put in rabbit cages.
Animals need extra calories during the winter because their bodies use more energy to stay warm. Water bowls must be refilled frequently to prevent freezing over.
Owners should check paws regularly for ice cuts, chemical irritation or frostbite. Also, owners should be aware that antifreeze is extremely attractive to pets but is highly poisonous. All spills should be immediately and thoroughly wiped up.
For more information on cold weather pet care, call the society at 968-3548 or visit the shelter at 4613 S. 4000 West.