Dec 05 , 2019
Yes, it is true Punxsutawney Phil predicted an early spring this year for Groundhog’s Day; however, when driving into work today I came across some sleet and dark looming clouds. A thought quickly came to mind: “I don’t believe I’m fully prepared or my vehicle is fully prepared for inclement weather.” How do you prepare yourself for bad weather, AND, how do you prepare your pets for bad weather?
Here are some essentials for your vehicle you will need in order to handle any sticky situation you may find yourself in:
- Jumper Cables
- Cat Litter – the non-clumping kind works best to help give your tires traction if you get stuck.
- Basic Tool Kit – pliers, screwdriver, adjustable wrench, pocketknife, duct tape, and rope.
- Flashlight and Extra Batteries
- Warm Clothes and Blanket/Sleeping Bag
- Food and Water – energy/protein bars are good to keep along with water and throw in your favorite bag of candy while you’re at it.
- First Aid Kit
- AM/FM Radio (battery-powered)/Road Atlas/Books – it’s always good to conserve energy on things like your vehicle’s battery and the battery of your phone, but there may come a time when those things fail. Having a separate radio on hand can let you know of traffic or news reports pertaining to your situation. Having maps on hand with a Road Atlas can also help you when your GPS signal is lost and you aren’t familiar with the roads. Having extra books on hand, like a casual read or a puzzle book, helps you past the time away and also helps you from draining your phone battery.
Preparing Your Pets
You should always try to bring your pets inside if the weather is bad; however, not ALL animals can come inside. Here are some ways you can prepare your pets for bad weather:
- Keep Your Pet’s Environment Safe and Warm – if your pet cannot come inside the house during bad weather, prepare the garage/storage shed/barn for them, especially at night. Make sure they have a warm place to sleep off of the floor and away from drafts. Put extra, old blankets or towels down on their pet beds for added warmth. You can also put a good layer of cedar chips down on the floor. Cedar chips lock in warmth. If your pets are near your vehicles, make sure there are no antifreeze spills. Antifreeze made with ethylene glycol tastes sweet to pets, but is VERY DEADLY. You could opt for using animal-friendly antifreeze made with propylene glycol instead. Also, cats like to curl up in places that are warm, like under the hood of a car which has been recently driven. When you go to get in your vehicle again, give them a warning by knocking on the hood.
- Bundle Your Pets in Warm Clothes – this goes back to keeping your pet’s environment warm as well. If you have an indoor dog, bundling him/her up in clothes helps regulate their body temperature when you have to take him/her out for a walk or to potty. A good dog jacket will have a high collar/turtleneck and cover under the belly and the base of the tail. Bundling up outdoor pets is also a very good thing; think horse blankets, extra blankets/towels for pet beds placed out in a garage or barn, etc.
- Adjust Your Pet’s Diet – feed your pet foods which are higher in protein during the winter months, it will help keep their fur thick and healthy. If your pet is an indoor pet don’t over feed them, and if your pet is an outdoor pet make sure their food and water is not frozen.
- Watch for Signs of Frostbite or Hypothermia – if you have animals which stay outside check on them regularly. Frostbite can occur when ice crystals form on the peripheral tissues such as ears, toes, tail tip, etc. Hypothermia can occur when the animal is exposed to severe cold for extended periods of time. Make sure they don’t have a weak pulse, dilated pupils, intense shivering, and/or are unconscious. For inside pets, make sure their walk or potty break is not an extended one.