Canines need to be kept indoors during severe winter storms such as blizzards, no matter how thick their fur coat or what the breed.
Canines need to be kept indoors during severe winter storms, such as blizzards, no matter how thick their fur coat appears or what their breed. They may want to romp through the snow drifts, but safety should always come first.

The looming blizzard is expected to bring heavy snow, strong winds and sub-zero temperatures, and while all of these extreme weather conditions are extremely hazardous to us humans, they are equally devastating to our loveable feathered and furry friends, our pets.

Whether your ‘lil ‘uns be four-pawed, winged, scaly and slithery or soft and cuddly (like our ‘lil snow bears Mr. Woolly, Snuffleupagus, Chewbacca, Whitley Whitemore and Mrs. Wooster), you’re going to want to keep them safe, dry and warm, just like you would any other member of your family.

To help, we thought we’d pass along a few of these pets blizzard tips so your baby woolly bears are kept just as safe and warm and comfortable as our brood (those are just some of our ‘lil ones!).

1. Bring those pets inside!
We don’t care how thick your husky’s fur is or how much of a survivor you believe your felines—a blizzard is a blizzard and is no place for any animal! That snow can become thick and heavy and weigh down your pet. Those winds can thrash snow drifts and cover those mammals in ice! Those freezing temperatures can inundate those critters and paralyze them! It’s a no-brainer. You wouldn’t want to be out there in such madness and neither do your pets. So bring them inside! Then give them a hug! As the Nassau SPCA warns: “A snow storm is no place for a pet.”

2. Canine owners: Do not let your dogs off the leash!
You many believe your dog to possess the best nose in the world. You may feel that, “Well, since Gizmo’s ancestors were sled dogs, he and Spike can go romp around in the snow drifts.” No no no no no! If you let your dogs off their leashes during heavy snowfall, they can lose their scent and easily become lost, which brings us to another important snowstorm-blizzard preparation: Make sure all your pets—dogs, cats, seals, marmosets, hedgehogs, etc.—make sure they all are wearing their collars and tags, complete with up-to-date contact information. The deeper the snow, the more your loved ones can become confused and disoriented, that thick white snow blanket covering familiar scents and landmarks. This entry is apparently multi-tiered. Please, for all of us fellow animal lovers, please keep an eye on your furry friends if for some reason you did not listen to this advice and you forgo their safety and take them outside. They can easily become lost and snowbound, confused and scared. And it will be very, very cold!

Stock up on all your pets' food and medicines far ahead of the storm.
Stock up on all your pets’ food and medicines far ahead of the storm.

3. Stock up ahead of time on all the special food and medicine your critters may need!
If you are reading this post today then you still have a short window of time left to make this tip a reality, but not much! People have been ransacking the supermarkets since rumors of this looming storm first began circulating several days ago. Much of the milk, bread and eggs at local markets have already been hit extremely hard. Yet luckily, there is surely still many bags of dog and cat, bird and turtle, parakeet and gerbil, rabbit and hamster food left! Please, stocking up on these goodies (and perhaps a few extra treats, such as pig-ears for the big ‘uns!), is a good idea, not just during these severe weather events, but all year round. Why not have an emergency supply ready at all times!? Why not be prepared and ready, for whenever a storm such as this rears its ugly head!? It is always very important to remember: During a blizzard travel may be impossible! So stock up!

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4. Prepare for a power outage!
Special pets have special needs and animals such as reptiles, fish and pocket pets (such as those cute gnawing sugar-gliders, for example), need filters and stones and heat lamps and possibly huts and igloos to not only stay warm, but to stay alive! If you haven’t done so for all the ‘lil ones in you family already, you might want to invest in a portable electrical generator to ensure that all your loved ones are guaranteed the environment they so need in order to thrive!

5. Keep a Pet Emergency Kit and supplies handy!
These crucial kits will include much-needed storm supplies and items, including your animals’ medical records, pet food, water, medications and pet First-Aid supplies. Again, it is best to create these packages far in advance of these situations, but it is never too late to start, so get a hoppin’. We have individualized care kits for all of our animals, and also a few large universal kits that can apply to any—those come in very handy, especially when dealing with those chaotic times when one critter may mistake these kits for lunch, such as Mister Wooly did last year with the anoles’ First-Aid kits!

Clean off your dogs' paws when they come back inside. Snow-melting salts can be very painful to these furry critters.
Clean off your dogs’ paws when they come back inside. Snow-melting salts can be very painful to these furry critters.

6. Clean off your canine’s paws!
If you refused to follow tip number one and disregarded the safety of your pets to test them in the blustery blizzard winds, then the least you can do is clean off their paws with a moist washcloth when they come back inside. The snow- and ice-melting rock salts you and the town toss all over the sidewalks and streets can be extremely painful to dogs’ feet and can make them very ill if they were to lick some up and ingest it. Please, wipe them clean and save your pet from this unneeded pain and suffering!

7. Have those dogs’ coats and booties ready!
You never know when you’re going to want or need to wrap your critters up snugly to keep them warm and dry or just to make them feel safer during the storm. We make a game out of dressing them up in their doggie coats and booties, telling them that they are magic coats that will protect them from the storm. Sometimes, we dress them in reindeer antlers. Sometimes, we dress them in their Halloween costumes. Sometimes, we dress the dogs up in the cats’ coats and booties and wrap the dogs up in the cats’! Misses Wooster doesn’t necessarily enjoy that, but it sure keeps her warm and safe!

8. Develop an emergency plan!
Prepare, prepare, prepare. As I often would tell Big Johnny, there can never be enough preparation, especially for such things as severe winter weather! Strategize where your loved ones will seek refuge should your home lose power or you need to evacuate. Please, stay up to date on the storm warnings in your area. Also, very important: Arrange a safe haven for your pets in these cases. As the Nassau SPCA advises: “Do not leave your pets behind.”

We wish you safety and luck during this severe storm. For more information about how you and your pets can better prepare and survive such weather events, check out the Suffolk SPCA and Nassau SPCA (who helped provide many of these important tips!).


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