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Animals living outside need special care, says Fort Wayne Animal Care & Control

Saturday, December 14, 2013 - 7:52 am

Animal Care & Control is offering free straw to any Allen County resident in need of animal bedding during these cold days of winter. Pet owners are urged to continually monitor the needs of their pets whenever the animals are outdoors. The straw is being offered through private donation for use as bedding and to keep the ground surrounding a doghouse mud-free.

Visit Animal Care & Control, 3020 Hillegas Road, during general business hours 11 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Monday-Friday and until 7 p.m. Wednesday.

The shelter offers these additional winter pet care tips:

•An animal that spends time outside must have access to a proper shelter specifically designed for an animal. The shelter must be free of leaks to wind, snow, and rain. Face the opening of the shelter to the east or south away from prevailing winds or fasten a heavy door flap to the top of the doorframe.

•Locate the animal's home to a warmer location in the sun.

•Create a snug inner room by making a removable partition inside the doghouse in back of the door opening.

•Use straw or cedar chips for bedding. Towels, blankets and hay are insufficient because cloth draws moisture and hay will mold.

•Insulate the animal's house and raise it several inches above the ground with concrete blocks to prevent snow from drifting inside. Frame the elevated area with boards or sand bags to prevent winds from gusting under the animal's house.

•Animals living inside an unheated garage must have a shelter inside the garage.

•Animals need extra food to help generate enough body heat to stay warm and must have unfrozen water to drink at all times. A heated water bucket is a great investment.

•All dogs and cats living within the city must wear the required city pet registration tag on a properly fitted leather or nylon collar.

•Keep all cats inside. Those who spend time outside can experience frostbite, or become lost or injured.

•Bring dogs inside during extreme cold spells. Animals are very susceptible to frostbite and can quickly die of hypothermia if left outside unsupervised.

•Puppies and senior dogs do not tolerate the cold, so make walks and playtime short.

•Thoroughly wipe off your dog's legs and stomach following cold weather walks. Dogs can easily ingest salt, antifreeze or other potentially dangerous chemicals while licking their paws. Check paws for cuts caused by snow or encrusted ice.

Never hesitate to call the shelter regardless of the day or time to report an animal in need of help within the city. Call 1-260-427-1244.