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Joyful Hands Holistic Pet Care and Bakery

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Share the following cold-weather tips with friends, coworkers, and neighbors. You may save a life.

Help Animals Cheat Chilly Weather

When the mercury plummets, animals need extra protection from the elements. Take the following precautions to ensure animals' safety:

Bring animals inside, particularly puppies and kittens, elderly animals, small animals, and dogs with short hair, including pointers, beagles, Rottweilers, pit bulls, and Dobermans. Short-haired animals will also benefit from a cozy sweater or coat.

Provide dogs with proper shelter. Doghouses should be made of wood or plastic (metal conducts cold) and positioned in a sunny location during cold weather. Raise the house off the ground several inches and put a flap over the door to keep out cold drafts. Use straw for beddingrugs and blankets can get wet and freeze.

Don't allow your cat or dog to roam freely outdoors. During winter, cats sometimes climb up under the hoods of cars to be near warm engines and are killed or badly injured when the car is started. (To help prevent this, bang loudly on the hood of your car before starting the engine.) Animals can also become disoriented when there is snow or ice on the ground. More animals are lost during the winter than during any other season.

Increase animals' food rations during winter (they are burning more calories to keep warm). Also, be sure animals are free of internal parasites, which can rob them of vital nutrients.

Buy antifreeze made with propylene glycol (brands include Sierra and Prestone Lowtox) instead of ethylene glycol, which is a deadly poison even in small doses. Animals are attracted to antifreeze because of its sweet taste, so be sure to promptly clean up spills.

Clean off your dog's or cat's legs, feet, and stomach after coming in from the snow. Salt and other chemicals can make an animal sick if they are ingested while the animal grooms him- or herself.

Provide a source of water for outdoor animals and wildlife (break the ice at least twice a day). Put water in a heavy bucket or bowl to prevent tipping.

Keep an eye out for strays. Bring unidentified animals inside until you can find their guardian or take them to the animal shelter. If strays are wild or unapproachable, provide food, water, and shelter (stray cats will appreciate a small doghouse filled with warm bedding), and call the local humane society for assistance in humanely trapping them and getting them safely indoors.

Call the humane society or animal control to report neglect. If possible, take pictures and write down dates and times the dog goes without food, water, or shelter. "Complain" about barking. Barking dogs are often lonely, neglected dogs. A common translation of "Arf, arf, arf" is "Hey, I'm lonely and bored and COLD out here!" Provide food, water, and toys for "forgotten" dogs and offer to donate a sturdy doghouse. Volunteer to take dogs for walks and bring them into your own house on cold nights.

How to Host Your Own Straw Giveaway
Buy bales of straw from your local "feed and seed" store. They will often give discounts on bulk orders. Take along the "cold-weather tips" listed above and post them.

Borrow or rent a large truck. (We rent a 14-footer.)

Approach a local supermarket or discount department store and ask for permission to set aside a section of its parking lot for your straw giveaway.

Send a media advisory to newspapers, radio and TV stations alerting them to the time, place, and date of the giveaway.

Bring along a tarpaulin to cover any leftover straw and leave it with a sign reading: "Free straw. Great bedding for dogs!"

Breaking the Chains
Did you know that continuously chaining dogs is illegal in Germany? Closer to home, Maumelle, Ark. and Camden, N.J., prohibit chaining dogs to doghouses or other stationary objects. Tucson, Ariz., has banned the use of ropes and chains to confine animals. In Washington, D.C., the Washington Humane Society considers chaining "unnecessary cruelty" and refuses to allow it. For more about current legislation on chaining and tethering dogs, please visit their website at
Contact PETA for a supply of informative leaflets to distribute to owners of neglected dogs.