Santa Barbara County Animal Services (SBCAS) wants to remind the public of the hazards of winter weather to our furry friends as winter storms are expected for the next few days with rain, strong winds, and icy conditions. We don’t see this weather often, and our pets may not be prepared for it. SBCAS is looking for the public to take the responsibility of keeping your four-footed family members safe and warm during this cold weather. Cold weather, just like hot weather, can pose serious threats to your pets’ health, and it is a crime not to protect them.
Some pets, including puppies, kittens, birds, reptiles, seniors, and pregnant pets, are especially vulnerable to the cold. SBCAS offers the following tips on how to keep your pets safe during wintry weather:
- Check your gates: High wind often causes fences to be blown out or gates to swing open. Something as simple as a clip on your gate latch can keep your pets safely on your property.
- Stay inside: If it’s possible, keep your pets indoors. Cats and dogs should be kept inside during cold and freezing weather. If it’s too cold for you, it’s probably too cold for your pet. Most dogs begin to suffer when the temperatures drop below 40 degrees.
- It’s sweater weather: If your dog has a short coat or seems bothered by the cold weather, consider a sweater or dog coat. Use a dry sweater or coat each time your dog goes outside. Wet sweaters or coats can make your dog colder.
- Check paws and wipe down pets: After walks in rainy weather, paws, legs, and bellies may pick up harmful chemicals that could be toxic if pets lick them off of their feet or fur. Dog booties are a good option during wet and cold weather; ensure booties are fitting correctly.
- Make some noise: A warm vehicle engine can be an appealing place for a stray pet to find heat. Look underneath your car, bang on the hood, and honk the horn to encourage feline hitchhikers to leave their hiding spot under the hood.
- Never leave a pet alone in a car during cold weather: A car can act as a refrigerator, holding in the cold and causing the animal to freeze to death. Always ensure that dogs are welcome wherever you go; otherwise, leave them at home.
- Wear a collar and check the chip: Make sure your pet is wearing a well-fitting collar with a current dog license and ID tag and that your furry friend is microchipped with your up-to-date contact information, which can help reunite you with your lost pet should you become separated.
- Winter wellness: Cold weather may worsen some medical conditions, such as arthritis. Your pet should be examined by a veterinarian at least once a year, and it’s as good a time as any to get them checked out to ensure they are ready and as healthy as possible for cold weather.
SBCAS encourages pet owners to be extra vigilant this week as we experience hail, sleet, snow, wind, and more. With our shelters at capacity, we encourage pet owners to care for their pets and keep them safe at home. This helps our staff care for the animals already at the shelter and focus on their care and safety.
If you encounter a pet left in the cold, politely let the owner know you’re concerned. Some people don’t know the risk of cold weather to their pets. SBCAS officers will be prioritizing calls of unsheltered pets this week. Report concerns online at https://www.countyofsb.org/1380/Abuse-Neglect.
To learn more about our services, adopting, volunteering or fostering, visit https://linktr.ee/sbcanimalservices