Image Credits: Pixabay
In the midst of freezing weather, even animals are prone to frostbite and dehydration. Although they have fur, exposure to an unkind snowstorm and frost may well be a threat. Well-fed animals gain meat that helps them stay insulated through nose-diving temperatures. Pet animals are usually taken care of; it is the street animals that need our help. In winters, the crippling cold can be a matter of life and death for these strays.
How to help stray animals in winter?
Here are a few things we can all easily do to help stray dogs or feral cats:
1. If you never had any pets or if you are uncomfortable to deal with any animals, then immediately call animal rescue volunteers or support groups. They will be well equipped and experienced to handle different kinds of animals and birds.
2. Whenever you spot a homeless animal, you can intimate the local rescue organizations and animal shelters. Though the shelters will need a few days time to come and pick them up, at least other volunteer groups will be informed so they can make alternative arrangements in the meantime. Occasionally, it so happens that the strays turn out to be lost pets, and the local agency can help reunite them with their families.
3. You can keep a bowl of water and some food in the vicinity where homeless strays are usually spotted. You can also keep water and food outside your house. The strays usually have to go searching for food in harsh weather, so finding food makes them relieved. It is better to check and replace the food or water often, in case it gets frozen due to the chill. You can try keeping the food at regular times so that a stray gets to know when it can approach.
4. You can make snug beds for them to rest and stay warm using straws and cardboard boxes. Avoid making beds with blankets, clothes, towels, or hay because these things can absorb moisture, turn cold, and freeze. Smaller size beds or pet houses are ideal as it helps the animal to curl up and stay warm.
5. If you choose to provide refuge to a stray animal inside your home for a longer period of time then first take it to a shelter home or a veterinary doctor to get it examined for immunization and check its temperament, think whether it is feasible to keep the stray indoors with humans, children or other pet animals. It would help if you also got it checked for any diseases. One common advice is to always bang the car hoods before starting the cars as small strays find warm nooks such as the car engine to save themselves from the cold. Not all stray animals are ready to get domesticated immediately. Providing them shelter and food is the next best option. Be patient, and don’t get discouraged until the animal warms up to your efforts. We cannot help all the millions of strays, but at least we can try fostering any strays we come across during these gloomy and chilly winters.