Winter Pet Tips

Despite their fur coats, domestic animals rely on humans for protection from the elements. During the cold winter months, there are a few tips that owners need to take to help their pet remain safe and warm.


If at all possible, don't leave pets outdoors when the temperature or wind-chill drops below freezing.


Outdoor dogs and cats must be protected by a dry, draft-free house that is large enough to allow the animal to sit and lie down comfortably, but small enough to hold in his/her body heat. The floor should be raised a few inches off the ground and covered with cedar shavings or straw. The door of the house should be turned to face away from the wind, and the doorway should be covered with a flap of heavy waterproof fabric or heavy plastic.  Be sure to place a tarp or plywood behind the house to block the cold, north wind.


Pets spending a lot of time outdoors need more food in the winter. Keeping warm depletes energy.


Routinely check your pet's water dish to make certain the water is not frozen.  Inexpensive, heated water dishes are readily available, or simply put out warm water to delay freezing.  Use plastic food and water bowls rather than metal; when the temperature is low, your pet's tongue can stick and freeze to metal.


Warm car engines are dangerous for cats and small wildlife.  To avoid injuring any hidden animals, bang on your car's hood to scare them away before starting your engine.


Antifreeze, with its sweet taste, is a deadly poison.  Wipe up spills and store antifreeze out of reach or use antifreeze-coolant made with propylene glycol; if swallowed in small amounts, it will not hurt pets, wildlife, or people.


If you are concerned about the welfare of a pet (and would like to remain anonymous), have questions about caring for your pet, or simply need some straw for your pet's house, please contact Panora P.E.T.S. for assistance.  


Phone:  (641) 431-1003  Email:


Flea Collars:  Poison to Pets and People

Each year, to relieve their pet’s suffering and scratching, well-intentioned pet owners apply an array of chemicals intended to kill fleas and ticks. These products, like flea & tick collars, sprays, dips, and powders, are designed to poison insects, and are usually highly effective. However, what you might not realize is that you are also poisoning your pet, as well as you and your family, with these highly-toxic pesticides.

According the National Resources Defense Council (NRDC), most Americans believe that commercially-available pesticides, such as those found in pet products, are tightly regulated by the government. In fact, they are not. Just because these products are on store shelves does not mean they have been tested or can be presumed safe.

Flea-control products that are currently on the market include seven specific "organophosphate insecticides" (OPs): chlorpyrifos, dichlorvos, phosmet, naled, tetrachlorvinphos, diazinon and malathion. They are the active ingredients in dozens of pet products that are readily available in most stores that sell pet supplies. A comprehensive list of products that contain these insecticides can be found at:

OPs work by blocking the breakdown of the body’s messenger chemical which then interferes with the transmission of nerve signals in the brains and nervous systems of insects, pets, and humans alike. The resulting interference with nerve transmissions is of such a magnitude that it actually kills insects. In overdoses, OPs can also kill people and pets. But even with normal use of flea-control products containing OPs, pets and children may be in danger.

How toxic are these products? The EPA now calculates that a child’s exposure to individual OPs in pet products on the day of treatment alone can exceed safe levels by up to 500 times -- 50,000 percent. Exposures to children calculated over a longer period of time can exceed safe levels to an even greater degree. A child’s developing brain and nervous system are particularly vulnerable to the toxic effects of OPs because these systems are not fully developed at birth and must continue to form during early childhood.

Studies have shown that children exposed to OPs were three times more likely to be hospitalized, five times more likely to be admitted to a critical care unit, four times more likely to die, suffer life threatening illness, or develop a permanent disability, and may face increased risks for such later-in-life problems as cancer and Parkinson’s disease. For example, the EPA found that toddlers who pet a large dog the day of its “flea dip” treatment (usually phosmet) and then put their fingers in their mouths will receive more than 500 times the safe level of this chemical.

Of course, as bad as these products may be for humans, they often are worse for the pets we love. Based on the very limited data available, it appears that hundreds and probably thousands of pets have been injured or killed through exposure to pet products containing pesticides. As with small children, pets cannot report when they’re being poisoned at low doses.

Healthier alternatives to these pesticides are readily available, and easy physical measures like frequent bathing and combing of pets can make the use of pesticides unnecessary. The safety and effectiveness of these alternatives makes the continued use of older, more toxic pet products tragically unnecessary. To ensure that you are giving your pet the best care possible, it is best to consult your veterinarian and discuss what solutions will be best for you, your pet, and your family.

For the complete article, “Poisons on Pets,” the list of EPA Registered Pet Products Containing Organophosphates Insecticides (Ops), the specific risks to animals and humans, or recommendations given by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), please visit:

Text Box: P.E.T.S.
Protecting Even The Strays