Across the United States, the winter reprieve is over. With the arctic blasts coming your way, what steps can you take to protect your home, kennel and dogs from winter hazards?
Here are some quick reminders and tips to help prevent disasters and health hazards, including those pesky mice who like to come inside when it gets cold outside.
- Check all heaters. Make sure they are clean, in proper working order and properly ventilated to the outside.
- Make sure there are not any flammable materials near your heat source. Make sure a dog, child or other animal cannot knock or push anything into or over onto the heat source.
- It is not very common to have a fireplace in a kennel, but if you have one or have dogs in your home with an active fireplace, have your fireplace and chimney cleaned and inspected before using them. Always have a safety screen in place for pets and children.
- Smoke and carbon monoxide detectors save lives. Have both these devices installed and check often to insure that batteries are working. Make it a habit to change the batteries in these devices on “Daylight Savings” days in the spring and fall.
- Install weather stripping and insulation where possible. Foam board insulation in-between the interior and exterior wall holds up better and helps with noise reduction.
- If you use heat lamps for added warmth in whelping areas and/or dog houses, make sure the lamp and cords are out of reach of dogs. Use an approved electric conduit pipe to cover exposed cords to help prevent a chewing hazard. (Also use this tip with number 10 below.)
- Preventing mice and rats can be a challenge. There are several products that will help you with this task, but you do not want to put your pets in danger, which can happen with the typical poisons. I also worry about my dog eating a rodent that has consumed poison and in turning killing my dog. Worry no more, because there is a new product called RatX, which is reported to be “100% natural and contains NO poison. It is safe for use around animals, children, food and crops. It starts working immediately upon being eaten by the mouse or rat and kills within 24 to 48 hours.” Revival Animal Health has this product in an economical 25-pound bag for those treating a large area and/or for repeated treatments.
- Afraid you will knock over, spill or get your pet safe rodent killer wet? I saw a great idea recently at a kennel. They have taken PVC pipe and made an upside down “T.” PVC pipe slip-fix fittings are put on the ends to make the opening on the ends of the “T” even smaller and sturdier. Next they used “U” clamps to fasten the upside down “T” to the wall. The pet safe rodent killer is then dropped into the hole at the top/bottom of the “T.”
- Live traps are another option for those pesky little critters. Pictured are two types of live traps that I have found to be very effective. While these traps are very effective and catch multiple mice at a time, the problem is what to do with the little guys after you catch them? Mine go on a one-way trip further into the country, but I’ll let you decide what to you with yours!
- Keeping dogs warm. This is another great winter idea that I saw working at a kennel. They use a ReptiTemp 500R remote reptile thermostat to automatically cycle their Pet Heat mat on and off as needed. The Pet Heat mat is energy efficient, waterproof and also has a thermostat control. If the temperature takes a dip during the night or while you are away, you can preset the Heat Mat temperature to your desired warmth. You can set the ReptiTemp, to the desired temperature level, and it will then cycle on and off as needed to maintain the correct temperature. No more having to get out of bed on a snowy night to check on the dogs, but we know you will!
- Remember to use pet friendly rock salt during icy times.
- And don’t forget to drain and disconnect your water hoses when the temperatures plummet below freezing.
I hope these ideas and tips help make your kennels safer. Thank you to Dave and Judy Miller, Revival Animal Health, Uline and Houzz for the use of their photos for these examples.