Keep your pets safe this season


By Haylee Pence

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MIAMI VALLEY – The wintertime can be a wonderful time for some, while it can be dangerous for others. This includes many beloved pets. It’s important to keep them safe. According to Director of the Miami County Animal Shelter, Robert Craft, “Cold weather conditions effect pets differently based on their coat, body fat, activity level, and health. Cold weather can also worsen some medical conditions.”

There are several risks for pets, which include hypothermia, frost bite, salt in the paws, and lack of adequate shelter. Nicole Laber, co-owner of Laber of Love Pet Rescue, saidto help your pets avoid hypothermia and frost bite is to ensure that pets are brought in after being let outside. Laber said, “The smaller the dog, the shorter the period they can be outside without issues arising.” This includes dog breeds that enjoy being outside during the winter weather such as Huskies and Saint Bernards.

If you’re laying down salt to get rid of the ice, it’s safer to use pet safe ice. When pets come back in from being outside, wipe their paws to remove salt and ice stuck there.

Adequate shelter for outdoor dogs and cats should include protection from ice, snow, and other weather. Laber said, “That shelter should include straw only, blankets and hay retain moisture and freeze, which will make the [pets] even colder.”

According to Ohio Law stated by Craft, “law requires you provide [your pets] access to sufficient quantities of good, wholesome food. They must have unlimited access to fresh, non-frozen water (by changing water frequently or using a pet-safe heated water bowl). You must also provide them access to sufficient shelter from the cold, wind, rain, and snow. We recommend the floor of the shelter be off the ground (to minimize heat loss) and the bedding should be thick, dry, and changed regularly to provide a warm, dry environment. The door to the shelter should be positioned away from prevailing winds. Heated pet mats can be used with caution.”

“Please make sure that all of [your animals] are registered and tagged with your local County Animal Shelter. Microchipping your pet and having another identification tag with your name and phone number are also great ideas,” Laber stated. By doing these, it greatly increases the chance of your lost pet being reunited with your family.

If you find a lost pet, the first step is to look for any tags on a collar. If there isn’t a collar, you can take the animal to any local vet or the animal shelter to get it checked for a microchip. If neither of those lead to reunification, you can take the animal to the animal shelter where most families look for lost pets first. Another viable option is to take a picture of the pet and post it on social media, specifically targeting groups in the local area. The animal shelter can be contacted at (937)-332-6919 during business hours and (937)-339-6400 after hours to pick up stray animals.

If there are stray cats or outdoor cats in your area, you can take plastic totes and insulate them with straw then cut out an opening to make a shelter. Then you can place the tote outdoors for the stray cats to stay in during the winter weather.

Laber stated, “Laber of Love Pet Rescue is a 501c3 non-profit organization ran by an all-volunteer Board of Directors. Our mission is to provide hospice care to older pets or those with untreatable medical conditions that find themselves without a family; to allow these pets to live out the remainder of their lives with love, dignity, and comfort by providing a safe home and necessary medical care; and to provide education to the public regarding the care of these pets. We rely on donations from caring people in our community and all of our pets are kept in loving forever foster (fospice) homes. We are currently looking to add loving fospice homes where pets can live the remainder of their lives with love, comfort, and compassion. The more fospice homes we have, the more pets we can save!”

From 4-6:30 p.m. on March 2, the Miami County Animal Shelter will be hosting a low-cost microchipping event with a cost of $25 per pet.

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