Lucky the TurfMutt is a former street dog who knows all too well how uncomfortable it is to spend cold days and nights outside. But Lucky was rescued by Kris Kiser, President and CEO of the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute (OPEI). Now, Lucky has a warm home, a cozy bed, and an important mission – to teach kids and their families about the importance of our living landscapes and being an “outsider.”
“Like most dogs, Lucky is an ‘outsider’ and he loves to romp in the snow, but one of our rules is that if it’s too cold for us to be outside, it’s too cold for him, too,” says Kiser. “As guardians of our pets, it’s important that we keep their safety in mind during all kinds of weather.”
TurfMutt’s Winter-Wise Weather Tips for Pets
Manage outdoor activities. The safest, most comfortable place for your pets is where you are. When temperatures dip below freezing or during severe weather, it’s imperative you keep pets indoors with you and make trips outside shorter.
Offer a warm place for your pet to rest inside. A pet bed works perfectly, just make sure it stays clean and dry.
Don’t cut your dog’s fur in the wintertime. Your pet’s winter coat is a natural barrier from the harsh, cold elements.
Consider a canine coat. Dogs with lots of fur probably don’t need an extra layer to go on walks in the winter. But smaller dogs and those with shorter coats may be more comfortable in a dog sweater or jacket.
Check for frostbite. After bathroom breaks and walks, check your pet’s ears, paws and tail for any sign of frostbite or ice and snow build up in the paw pads.
Wipe down after walks. Keep a dry, clean towel handy to wipe down your pet’s legs, belly and paws after each outdoor excursion. Ice-melt chemicals can irritate their skin and cause serious illness if ingested.
Be careful with chemicals. Antifreeze smells and tastes sweet to pets, but it’s toxic to them. Quickly clean up any spills, and consider using a brand made from non-toxic propylene glycol instead.
Keep your pet hydrated. Ensure your pet has plenty of fresh, clean water to drink. Winter air is dry!
Clear a path. Use a snowthrower to make quick work of snow removal and create a path to your pet’s bathroom area. Always keep kids and pets away from the equipment.
Don’t leave your pet in a cold car. It’s just as dangerous to leave a pet in a cold car during winter months as it is to leave them in a hot car in the summertime.
TurfMutt was created by the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute’s (OPEI) Research and Education Foundation and has reached more than 68 million children, educators and families since 2009. Through classroom materials developed with Scholastic, TurfMutt teaches students and teachers how to “save the planet, one yard at a time.” TurfMutt is an official USGBC® Education Partner and part of their global LEARNING LAB. TurfMutt is an education resource at the U.S. Department of Education’s Green Ribbon Schools, the U.S. Department of Energy, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Green Apple, the Center for Green Schools, the Outdoors Alliance for Kids, the National Energy Education Development (NEED) project, Climate Change Live, Petfinder and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. In 2017, the TurfMutt animated video series won the coveted Cynopsis Kids Imagination Award for Best Interstitial Series. TurfMutt’s personal, home habitat is featured in the 2017 and 2018 Wildlife Habitat Council calen