NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) – As the temperatures plummet and snow falls, we prepare by stocking up on food and water and layering up. We have emergency plans for ourselves – and we should for our pets too.
If a big storm is expected, consider what you will do with your pet if you lose power. Research pet-friendly shelters so you know where they are and what you need to bring with your pet (i.e. a crate, food, leash, vaccination records – on that note, make sure your pet is current on all its vaccinations). Another alternative is making plans to drop your pet off at a friend’s house so you can go to a public shelter that may not accept pets.
Whether or not you have to leave your house, Richard and Vicki Horowitz of Bark Busters, a dog-training service, say it’s wise to put together a pet emergency kit. Here’s what they suggest having in the kit:
- Collar with tags and sturdy leash
- Any necessary medications (at least a two-week supply)
- Photocopies of health records
- Secure, unbreakable, covered carrier (large enough that your pet can completely turn around)
- Food and water bowls
- Recent photograph of you and your pets together
- Favorite toy (toys can help reduce the stress of unfamiliar surroundings)
- Disposable trash bags or newspaper for clean-up
- Zipper storage bags for important papers, treats, toys, etc.
If you have fish or other animals that require being in a tank hooked up to an electric filter, make sure you have a generator or some emergency plan for those pets.
Emergency or not, there are other ways to keep your dogs safe in the snow and bitter cold. After a big snowfall, dogs can become disoriented because their ‘trails’ have been covered. Even if you’re used to letting your dog out without a leash, put them on a leash right after new snow falls so they can get re-oriented to the area, say Richard and Vicki.
It’s always a good idea to keep a jacket and booties on your dogs when you walk them. The salt used to treat roads can cut and irritate dogs’ paws, so covering them with booties will help protect them. My dog Nell hates wearing booties, but if she doesn’t have them on, she will limp around in pain after walking over salt. I try to keep the walks brief in those circumstances to reduce her discomfort. Richard and Vicki told me and Nell that dogs need more mental stimulation in the winter than we think. I had been focusing on making sure Nell got enough physical exercise during the winter months, but they say exercising her mind is what’s most important during these months of being cooped up. We’re going to talk to Richard and Vicki about this on Good Morning Connecticut next week.
As always, please email me pet-related story ideas you would like to see me and Anchor Dog Nell cover!