Upcoming CART Meetings-Please visit the respective county page for details.
Westmoreland- February 7th, March 9th,April 4th,May 10th,June 8th
Forest/Venango- February 15th, March 15th, April 19th
Keep Pets Safe During Winter Weather
PASART recommends the following to protect pets during the winter months:
Never leave puppies, smaller dogs, older dogs or cats outdoors when the temperature falls below 40 degrees.
If your dog or cat stays outside much of the time in the winter be certain that they have a proper shelter raised several inches off the ground with a flap over the entry. Keep a fresh blanket, cedar shavings or straw to keep the pet warm. The shelter should be large enough so your pet can sit and stand, but small enough so his body heat will be retained in the house.
Use a plastic water bowl to ensure your pet’s tongue does not get stuck to cold metal, and change the water often to keep it from freezing.
Be sure to keep older or arthritic pets inside. Escort the older dog outside for toileting and use a leash if the yard has ice or snow. Older dogs can easily fall and seriously injure themselves.
Be alert for signs of frostbite and injury. Dogs’ ears, paws and tails are especially susceptible and if you suspect it contact your veterinarian. If your dog plays on ice or hard, frozen dirt, check his paws for cuts and always wipe his feet after a walk in the snow to remove ice balls and salt deposits.
Use only pet-safe ice melt.
Always be alert for signs of hypothermia such as shivering, lethargy, low heart rate and unresponsiveness.
Never leave your dog inside a parked car -- during the winter it can act as an icebox and trap cold air inside.
While it’s easy to think that dogs are immune to cold because of their fur, the fact is that more dogs perish in the winter than at any other time of the year. Some are better equipped to handle the cold weather than others. Frostbite, hypothermia and antifreeze poisoning present the biggest winter threats to pets. By taking a few precautions and using common sense, pet owners can keep their dogs safe this winter.
Beware of cold temperatures. While many pets can be safe in outside temperatures with proper shelter (see below), puppies, smaller dogs, older dogs and cats should not be left outdoors when the temperature falls below 40 degrees.
While many pets can be safe in outside temperatures with proper shelter (see below), puppies, smaller dogs, older dogs and cats should not be left outdoors when the temperature falls below 40 degrees.
Keep older, arthritic pets inside. These animals should not be left outside under any circumstances. Escort the older dog outside for toileting and use a leash if the yard has ice or snow. Older dogs can easily fall and seriously injure themselves.
Watch for signs of frostbite and injury. Dogs’ ears, paws and tails are especially susceptible to frostbite. If you suspect frostbite, contact your veterinarian. If your dog plays on ice or hard, frozen dirt, his paws are susceptible to cuts as his paws slide across these rough surfaces. Always wipe your dog’s feet after a walk in the snow to remove ice balls and salt deposits from the road. Salt irritates a dog’s paws and can be toxic if ingested. Use only pet-safe ice melt.
Keep an eye out for hypothermia. If you notice shivering, lethargy, low heart rate and unresponsiveness, bring your pet into a warm area, place a light blanket over him, and call your veterinarian.
Eliminate the possibility of poisoning. Unfortunately, dogs like the sweet taste of antifreeze, which can cause sickness or even death if ingested. Make certain that all antifreeze containers are well out of reach of dogs and thoroughly clean any spills immediately.
Provide a protective shelter. If your dog or cat stays outside much of the time in the winter, his shelter needs to be raised a couple of inches off the frozen ground or concrete. The inside needs to have a blanket, cedar shavings or straw, which should be changed frequently to keep him warm and dry. Add a flap to the door, and face the shelter away from the weather. The size of the shelter should be large enough so your pet can sit and stand, but small enough so his body heat will be retained in the house. Use a plastic water bowl to ensure your pet’s tongue does not get stuck to cold metal, and change the water often to keep it from freezing.
Keep your dog on a leash. Dogs rely heavily on a strong sense of smell to figure out where they are and can easily get lost during winter storms. Snow covering the ground will make their surroundings less familiar. Keeping your dog on a leash at all times – especially during winter storms – can help stop your dog from becoming lost. Also talk to your veterinarian about micro-chipping your dog, just in case.
Don’t leave your dog inside of a parked car. Most people know this rule for the summer. A parked car can quickly amplify the effects of extreme weather. During the winter it can act as an icebox and trap cold air inside.
With the frigid temperatures quickly approaching, PASART encourages all residents of the Commonwealth to take precautions when using space heaters. According to the US Fire Administration, in 2011, space heaters, whether portable or stationary, accounted for one-third of home heating fires and four out of five of home heating fire deaths.
The leading factor contributing to home heating fires was failure to properly clean heating equipment, primarily chimneys before use. Placing things that can burn too close to heating equipment or placing heating equipment too close to things that can burn, such as upholstered furniture, clothing, mattress, or bedding, were among the leading factors contributing to ignition in fatal home heating fires and accounted for more than half of home heating fire deaths.
In the event of a fire, your pets need protection as much as the rest of the family. Here is a list of some things you can do in your home…
- Be sure you have working smoke detectors on every level of your home.
- Have an emergency exit plan that includes your pets, and practice the plan regularly.
- Make sure pets always wear identification
- Research a safe place to take your pets.
- Assemble a disaster kit.
- Give a key to a trusted neighbor.
- Ask your local fire department if they carry pet oxygen masks on their fire trucks.
- Listen to your dog.
About CARTs: County Animal Response Teams were formed as an initiative the PA State Animal Response Team (PASART) a private non-profit organization which receives the majority of its funding from the federal government through the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency (PEMA). CARTs consists of volunteers from all walks of life - from experienced emergency responders, veterinary technicians, animal trainers and handlers to other men and women concerned with the welfare of animals. CARTs are based on the principals of the Incident Command System developed by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), and involves a coordinated effort of government, corporate and animal organizations. For more information regarding Pennsylvania CARTS visit www.pasart.us
September 30, 2014: PASART Releases its Mega Shelter Manual.
From Executive Director Joel Hersh; "In June, PASART held a Sheltering Symposium for the purpose of initiating the development of a large scale companion animal sheltering plan. Over 50 invited experts attended a two day Symposium held at West Chester University. These experts provided invaluable assistance, through the work group process, in developing ideas , strategies and operating procedures for use in opening and managing a large scale companion animal shelter.
After the Symposium, we began the task of sorting through all the information gleaned from the Symposium; reviewing information previously developed by other organizations; reviewing existing PASART policies and SOP's; making decisions based on Pennsylvania needs, and then developing a manual for Pennsylvania.
I am pleased to announce today that we have now completed the task and produced the PASART Large Scale Animal Sheltering Manual. This is now the prevailing document to be used in Pennsylvania for the opening and operation of a large scale companion animal shelter. The manual is comprehensive. We attempted to include "everything you'll need to know and consider" when faced with a disaster requiring the opening of such a shelter.
The manual is available for download on our Preparedness Information Page or by clicking the following link: PASART Mega Shelter Manual_09-28-2014.pdf
Our thanks go out to all who assisted in this effort."
September is National Preparedness Month-Have you checked out all of the resources available to you for both Pet and Family Preparedness? Please visit other sections of our website for information on how you and your entire family can be better prepared.
You will also find information on the website of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) at www.fema.gov or at www.ready.gov Also be sure to check our information on the website of the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency (PEMA) at: www.pema.state.pa Members of the agricultural community should visit the Penn State Extension link for information on Preparedness Planning.http://extension.psu.edu/prepare/readyag
Remember: Disasters occur when you least expect it. Please take the time to prepare you and your family, including pets,to be able to respond quickly and effectively should you need to evacuate your home.
News You Can Use- PASART Warns Animal Owners about Excessive Heat
PASART is concerned that you may not be thinking about the effects of excessive heat on your animals. Please click on the following link for information that "YOU NEED TO KNOW".