December 15, 2020

How To Keep Your Pets Safe During The LI Winter Storm: SPCA

By haziqbinarif

LONG ISLAND, NY — Long Islanders will likely bundle up by the fire with a cup of hot cocoa this week, as a winter storm watch has been issued. Don’t forget your pets, said the Suffolk County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

A monster snowstorm is threatening to dump more than a foot of snow on the island, as a storm watch will be in effect from 2 p.m. Wednesday until 1 p.m. Thursday. Anywhere from 6 to 14 inches of snow is expected depending on the area, and wind gusts of 50 mph are possible. The Suffolk SPCA issued tips to keep your furry friends safe.

“During this winter storm, animals feel the same harsh winds, snow, and freezing temperatures as we do,” a news release states. “Animals need extra protection to survive the winter storm, too. With the extreme cold and snow settling into the area, it’s important to remember to bring your pets inside.”

Residents are urged to keep ID tags on pets, because animals could get lost during a winter storm. More pets are lost in winter than any other time of year, according to the SPCA. They lose their ability to scent their way home in snowy and icy conditions.

Pets should never be left unattended in a car without heat. Animals can freeze to death very quickly.

Here are some other basic rules, courtesy of Suffolk SPCA:

  • Keep cats indoors: This prevents injury, frostbite, hypothermia, and death.
  • Be alert to frostbite: Skin can turn red, white or gray and scaly. If you suspect frostbite, contact your vet immediately.
  • Always walk dogs on a leash: Dogs can become disoriented or lost. Roads are often dangerous during snow conditions due to snowplow piles and ice.
  • Be aware of sheltered cats and wildlife: Outdoor cats and other animals will often seek shelter beneath the hood of a car and can be killed by fans or belts. Bang on the hood or blow your horn before starting the car.
  • Be aware of exposure time: Dogs who are ill, old, very young, or shorthaired cannot endure prolonged exposure to winter weather. Take them out only to relieve themselves. Coats or sweaters can help avoid problems for dogs that like to play in the snow. Many dogs need boots in winter weather, regardless of coat length. If your dog frequently lifts up his paws, whines or stops on his walks, his or her feet are uncomfortably cold and may need dog booties for his or her paws.
  • Keep pets dry: Never take your dog or cat out after a bath unless they are completely dry.
  • Have a cleanup routine: Keep a towel and maybe moist wipes by the door to clean dogs’ feet of salt, anti-freeze, and other harmful toxins. Road salt can irritate or burn, as well as cause vomiting. In some pets, this can even cause seizures. Antifreeze has a sweet, attractive smell to pets and can be deadly if ingested. Keep paws, bellies, and legs clean to avoid problems.
  • Keep pets warm: Always keep beds slightly elevated and away from cold drafts.

For those with pet bunnies outside, make sure they have a warm, dry hutch with plenty of bedding that is out of the wind. Water is important, too, as is some extra food. Cover the hutch with a tarp.

During this winter storm, bring your pet inside, the Suffolk SPCA urged.

“Remember, animals get cold just like you,” it said.

In Suffolk County, you cannot tether, leash, secure, tie, pen or confine a dog outside when the temperature is below 32 degrees.

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