It’s cold out there, and your pets too feel the chill

Written By Unknown on Kamis, 25 Desember 2014 | 22.23

As the winter sets in, it's not just you who feels the chills, pet animals too get affected. The dip in mercury levels calls for special care for the four-legged creatures. Precisely the reason that animal rights activists of Humane Society International-India (HSI) have put out an advisory for pet owners and animal lovers in general on how to keep animals warm and safe.

Navamita Mukherjee of HSI pointed out that it is advisable to keep your pets indoors, especially after sundown, "That's the time the cold gets too much. Almost all pet animals like dogs, cats, rabbits and various birds are sensitive to drops in temperature which can cause shivering, wheezing and even flu-like symptoms. It's better to keep them indoors as far as possible during winter," said Mukherjee.

Animal activist Anarjit Chauhan advised that owners should drape keep their pets in shawls or blankets of their size to keep them cozy. "If your pet is especially susceptible to illness during winter time, immunity booster shots can be also given to them at a veterinary clinic," said Chauhan.

Fur, a natural warmer, should not be snipped off animals, said activists. Dogs and cats are blessed with thick fur that keeps them warm naturally. Activists also said that dogs should not be taken out for a walk immediately after a bath. Their fur coat should be allowed to dry completely before taking them outdoors, added activists.

Mukherjee also advised caution about animals scouting for some warmth beneath parked vehicles. "For stray cats, dogs, other smaller animals and even wildlife species like snakes, animal lovers must note that such creatures often slip under cars to bask in the warmth of the engine to keep out the cold," said Mukherjee. "So, motorists must take special care while starting their vehicles. To avoid harming them, drivers should knock on the car's hood to alert them before starting the vehicle."

These days, Panvel resident Vishnu Gavali often cautions taxi drivers, asking them to look beneath before turning on the ignition key. "In this season, you often find animals hiding underneath. They shouldn't be harmed just because we're in a hurry," said Gavali.

Activists also said that pets need plenty of food and water in winter. "Routinely check your pet's water dish to ensure the water is fresh and not too cold," this activist said.

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