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FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WOWO): The Fort Wayne Animal Care and Control is reminding residents to monitor outdoor pets during the cold weather and is giving away free straw for animal bedding.

Care and Control is offering free straw from 11 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays. The department is open from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Wednesdays at 3020 Hillegas Road.

The shelter also offered these addition tips below.

  • “An animal that spends time outside must have access to a proper shelter specifically designed for that animal.  The shelter must be free of leaks to wind, snow, and rain.  Face the opening of the shelter to the east or south away from prevailing winds or fasten a heavy door flap to the top of the doorframe.  
  • Locate the animal’s home to a warmer location in the sun.
  • Create a snug inner room by making a removable partition inside the doghouse in back of the door opening.
  • Use straw or cedar chips for bedding.  Towels, blankets and hay are insufficient because cloth draws moisture and hay will mold.
  • Insulate the animal’s house and raise it several inches above the ground with concrete blocks to prevent snow from drifting inside.  Frame the elevated area with boards or sand bags to prevent winds from gusting under the animal’s house.
  • Animals living inside an unheated garage must have a shelter inside the garage.
  • Animals need extra food to help generate enough body heat to stay warm and must have unfrozen water to drink at all times.  A heated water bucket is a great investment.
  • All dogs and cats living within the city must wear the required city pet registration tag on a properly fitted leather or nylon collar.
  • Keep all cats inside.  Those who spend time outside can experience frostbite, or become lost or injured.
  • Bring dogs and cats inside during extreme cold spells.  Animals are very susceptible to frostbite and can quickly die of hypothermia if left outside unsupervised.  Puppies and senior dogs do not tolerate the cold, so make walks and playtime short.
  • Thoroughly wipe off your dog’s legs and stomach following cold weather walks.  Dogs can easily ingest salt, antifreeze or other potentially dangerous chemicals while licking their paws.  Check paws for cuts caused by snow or encrusted ice.

Never hesitate to call the shelter regardless of the day or time to report an animal in need of help within the city. Call 260-427-1244 option 1.”

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