Strays in the Winter

            While we’re not slated to have an overly frigid winter, The Old Farmer’s Almanac is calling for more than average amounts of snow. Lots of snow means difficulty finding necessary resources if you’re a stray.  The following tips can help ensure survival for homeless pets in your neighborhood:

Report, report, report. If you see an animal running lose in your neighborhood call a shelter or animal control. They have the training, equipment, and resources to safely trap the animal; check it for microchips, temperament, and disease; and provide it with food and shelter in hopes of finding it a forever home. They will also spay or neuter the animal, which is the best thing we can do to control homeless pet populations.

Unfortunately by the time help arrives, the roaming critter may have vanished, so if you have the ability, provide shelter. This doesn’t mean inviting the stray into your home. You can create fairly easy dens for smaller animals by lining plastic bins with Styrofoam, filling them with hay, and cutting a small entrance hole. Remember to secure the lid to insulate.  Larger dogs are a bit harder, but any sort of stable lean-to with hay can provide much-needed protection from harsh winds and winter storms. Establishing a safe place for the animal can also make it easier for authorities to trap.

Frequently put out fresh, warm water. With so much precipitation it’s sometimes easy to forget that snow and ice do not equate to water sources. Providing a reliable water source can help animals conserve much needed energy.

Donate to your local shelter. This is the time of year animals flood shelters, and having enough capital and resources to help them all is often a struggle. Towels, blankets, unopened food, and, of course, money can make a huge impact in the lives of homeless pets.