Public urged to protect pets from severe weather
Following warnings of severe Christmas weather, the public are being advised how best to look after pets and other animals this Christmas.
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) has warned that animals can become disoriented when there is snow or ice on the ground. More animals are lost during the winter than during any other season.
The group said that following some guidelines could help save the lives of cats, dogs, birds and other animals during the inclement weather.
* Keep animals indoors. Short-haired animals will also benefit from a warm jumper or coat on walks.
* Don't allow your cat or dog to roam freely outdoors. During winter, cats sometimes climb under the bonnets of cars to be near warm engines and are badly injured or killed when the car is started. (To help prevent this, you could bang loudly on the bonnet of your car before starting the engine.)
* Increase animals' food rations because they are burning more calories to keep warm.
* Keep an eye out for strays. Take unidentified animals indoors until you can find their guardians or get them to an animal shelter. If strays are skittish or otherwise unapproachable, provide them with food and water and call animal-protection authorities for assistance in trapping them and getting them indoors.
* If there is snow on the ground, be sure to wipe off your dogs' or cats' legs, feet and stomachs after they come indoors. Salt and other chemicals can make your animals sick if they ingest them.
* Antifreeze, which can be deadly, attracts animals because of its sweet taste. Avoid spills, be sure always to tighten the cap securely after use and store the antifreeze in a place where animals cannot get to it.
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