With recent temperatures dropping well below zero, Eagle County Animal Services is offering winter weather reminders for caring for pets. According to Animal Services Director Shawn Markmann, Colorado mountain winters are simply too cold for most pets to be left outside for any length of time. Dogs and cats can freeze to death when left in cold temperatures. Use these tips to keep pets safe and healthy:
• If your pet does not have access to the indoors, provide a heated dog house, garage, or other warm area that offers protection from the elements. Wind and precipitation quickly produce life-threatening circumstances for pets.
• Even brief exposure to sub-zero temperatures can lead to frostbite of the feet, nose or ears. Frost-bitten skin appears red, gray or whitish and may peel off. Prevent frostbite by removing ice and snow from paws and fur right away. If you suspect frostbite, contact your veterinarian.
• Do not leave antifreeze, coolant or windshield wiper fluid within reach and do not let pets drink from puddles. These products often taste appealing to pets but can be lethal. Thoroughly clean any spills from your vehicle and keep your pets on leash outdoors so you can steer them away from any suspect puddles.
• Outdoor cats and wild animals sometimes climb onto car engines or beneath cars to seek warmth. Bang on the hood of your car or honk the horn before starting the engine to warn animals away.
• Many de-icing and ice-melting products are toxic to the touch. Read the labels of any products you use, and store these products in tight containers. Wipe your pet's paws after contact with ice-melting substances.
For more information, contact Animal Services at 328-DOGS or 328-3647.