Highland County Humane Society Can Help with Pet Care in Winter & Throughout the Year

When the weather turns cold, pets need extra care.  Food, water and shelter, as always, are the most important things to provide in the winter.  It’s best to keep pets inside, especially when it’s below thirty degrees, when there is a wind chill warning or when snow or ice is forecasted.

Corena Huffman has more.  She’s the President of the Highland County Humane Society.

“It’s important to watch all our animals during cold weather, livestock included, but especially our companion animals,” says Huffman.  “Here in the Highlands the weather can be so tricky and unpredictable and turn cold really quickly.  Ideally, dogs and cats need to be in homes, inside, even if that’s another building or garage or barn to help with the wind break and the cold.   If that’s not an option, and you have them outside, you definitely want to make sure their dog house or cat house is insulated and has straw for bedding.  Straw helps insulate their fur and wicks moisture away, whereas hay or even blankets can get wet and actually cause the animal to be more cold.  You’re going to have to do fresh water several times a day, especially if it’s freezing.  They need extra water.  They can’t drink snow and convert it into water.  Some of the hunting dogs will need extra calories during the winter weather, because their coats are short and they will need extra calories to stay warm.  So, you may want to increase what you’re feeding or add can food to your outside animals, if you can’t bring them inside.”

“If you have a dog that you’re walking or animals that are loose in town close to major roads, where they may be chemically treating the roads, you want to make sure to wash your pet’s paws because the chemical deicers and the things they treat our roads and sidewalks with can be toxic,” says Huffman.  “Wash their bellies off and wash their legs off and dry them.”

Be cautious when you get into your car.  Honk the car horn or knock on the hood before starting the car.  Cats may climb up into the engine for warmth and safety.   Be sure you don’t have any antifreeze leaking from the car because, if ingested, it is also toxic to dogs and cats.

The Highland County Humane Society can get you supplies to help your pets during the cold weather.

“We are able to lend out kennels and crates and such for people to borrow if they’d like to bring their dogs inside and have them crated,” says Huffman.  “We can also help with straw for the outside dogs.”

The Highland County Humane Society has received two grants recently that can help with a number of other pet expenses.

“One, from the Prince William Humane Society in Northern Virginia, offers free spay/neuter to anyone in the Highland County area,” says Huffman.  “That’s not limited to the number of pets that we can spay/neuter.  It also includes outside cats for trap/neuter/return and barn cats, colony cats and stray cats, that kind of thing is covered with that grant.”

“As far as supplies go, if folks need extra help, we have a grant from Little Swiss Fund, again here for Highland County residents, that can offer anything from assisting with vet care if your animal becomes sick and needs to go to the vet or you need extra food or supplies for your animal.  They can contact us directly,” says Huffman.  “We are pretty flexible with what we can provide and can meet up to get the supplies to you or bring those to your house.”

For more information, info@highlandcountyhumanesociety.org or call 540-908-9152.


Story By

Bonnie Ralston

Bonnie Ralston is the Assistant Station Coordinator at WVLS and a Highland County news reporter. She began volunteering at Allegheny Mountain Radio in the fall of 2005. In 2006 she became an AMR employee and worked in Bath County for eight years as the WCHG Station Coordinator and then as the news reporter there. She began working in radio while in college and has stayed connected to radio, in one way or another, for more than thirty years. She grew up in Staunton, Virginia, while spending a lot of time on her family’s farm in Deerfield, Virginia. She enjoys spending time outside, watching old TV shows and movies and tending to her chickens.

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