There are some interesting facts regarding the characteristics of animals during the cold months.  We all think of bears hibernating in the winter, but gophers, bats, snakes and frogs also hibernate completely.  Squirrels, beavers, skunks, badgers, and raccoons store food and do not hibernate entirely.  Some animals, such as the arctic fox, weasel, white-tailed jackrabbit and snowshoe hare, change colors to blend in with the snow in their habitat.  Their fur also thickens for added protection.  As we know, certain birds and butterflies migrate.

But our pets don’t migrate or hibernate, thank goodness, so it’s up to us to guarantee their safety during wintertime.  Please follow these safety tips to protect your furry loved one:

  • Feed them a bit more in the winter if they live outdoors; they need extra calories to stay warm.  Put out fresh water twice a day, or set out a special type-bowl that prevents the water from freezing.  Four-legged family members should have some type of shelter to protect them from the elements.
  • If your pet normally stays indoors, (or you are keeping the regular outdoor ones inside during extremely cold times), be sure to watch the temperature.  They can get frostbite on the ears, tails and paws if left out too long.
  • Do not let your cat or dog ingest anti-freeze from where your car is sitting.  It tastes sweet, and a small amount can cause severe kidney damage, or even death.  If you should spill some, be sure to soak it up immediately.
  • Honk the horn of your car before you start it to ensure that a cat isn’t napping in a warm spot under the hood.
  • Check paws of your dog when walking to be sure that ice isn’t building up between the toes, or that salt from the roads isn’t irritating the skin.
  • When decorating for the holidays, keep ornaments out of the reach of your pets.  Also, keep in mind there are certain plants that can be toxic if ingested.

Our best friends count on us to keep them safe and warm.  They repay us with their unconditional love.