During the season of giving, it's wonderful to appreciate the simple things in life, and that includes having adequate shelter. December 3rd is National Roof Over Your Head Day. Here's how to help make sure companion animals are protected from the elements.
If you have room in your heart and your home, the best way to provide an animal a roof over their head is to bring one home! It may seem like a busy time of year to be bringing home a new family member, but the holidays are a great time to do so.
Animals need homes year-round, but the holidays can be problematic for shelters that have sustained or increased intakes during the colder months. If you were considering a new pet, why not adopt one now with so many to choose from? Home for the holidays will take on special significance for your family with the blessing of finding one another during this magical season!
If the time isn't right to adopt, it's still a great time to donate to your local rescue. Providing shelter to a homeless pet will warm them and your heart. That tax write-off is yet another gift!
Even if your pets are generally kept indoors, it's a good idea to have warm shelter accessible outside too. We've heard stories of people who have accidentally left their pets outside overnight with devastating results.
If someone has a memory lapse, a health issue or should a pet accidentally escape, having backup outdoor shelter, such as a Dog House , can keep a simple accident from turning into a tragedy.
Make sure your outdoor shelter is insulated and dry. Outfitting your dog house or cat shelter with a Water Resistant Pad is a great idea. Regularly inspect your outdoor shelter for signs of wear and water damage. Also, make sure wild critters aren't infringing on your hospitality.
If you have homeless cats or small dogs living in your area, there are lots of solutions for providing protection for them. You can make your own animal shelters with items you probably already have or with inexpensive materials such as styrofoam coolers or large plastic storage bins.
For this easy and inexpensive cat or small dog shelter you'll need:
2 heavy duty Rubbermaid plastic storage bins (50-gallon size and a 90-quart size)
Straw or packing peanuts
Pack the insulation material around the smaller bin that's placed in the larger one. (Don't forget about packing the bottom.) Once you've created a snugly insulated space, cut in an entry door, poke some drainage holes and pop on the lid.
If you've had frozen food delivered to your door, more than likely it was shipped in a styrofoam cooler. Don't throw those away! If you don't happen to have any on hand, these styrofoam boxes can be purchased as well.
You can easily make a cat shelter out of these by putting in some nice bedding material (old towels or straw), cutting out an entrance hole and taping the box shut with some duct tape.
Some feral cat caregivers suggest providing a rear escape hole as well in case the cat should be cornered by a predator or aggressive cat. If you're creating a shelter for your cat in your own backyard, you can probably get away with one entrance.
Supplies for these DIY shelters cost less than $30 bucks and you can have it done in about 30 minutes.
Even if there doesn't appear to be any stray or feral animals around your property, it will still provide you with peace of mind to have backup shelter for your own animals in the event they should escape or accidentally be left outside. There are just too many variables during the busy holiday season to leave safety to chance.
Some animals may find themselves without a roof over their head because of domestic issues, disasters or because they live with a homeless person. If you don't have a local shelter to support or are looking for an alternative way to help keep animals in a stable living situation, consider donating to programs such as RedRover or Pets of the Homeless.
RedRover has several programs for assisting animals and people in crisis. They can provide support animal rescuers and pet owners in life-threatening situations including domestic violence or other traumatic crisis.
Pets of the Homeless is a national animal organization that assists in feeding and providing emergency veterinary care to animals being cared for by the homeless.
Both of these organizations are great ways to support people and pets that may not have the luxury of a stable living situation.
The best way to keep a roof over your pet's head is to make sure they are protected with current identification. With all of the activities of the holidays, accidents can happen, and a pet could accidentally escape. To improve the odds of your pet being reunited with you, it's best to have both a microchip and a collar.
Microchipping is a great idea because pets often do wriggle out of their collars or lose their tags. Just the other day, I found my dog's tag laying on the porch. For cats, it's particularly important to have them chipped since their collars are designed to break off to prevent strangulation.
As wonderful as microchipping is, it's not foolproof, however. Some chips have been known to work their way out of the skin. Additionally, there are different kinds of chips and not every animal control facility has a scanner to ready every brand.
A physical collar and tag will provide an additional means for your pet to make it back home. For extra fun, update your pet's Collar and tag in a festive holiday theme!
During these times also take a moment to really appreciate the fact that you do have a roof over your head, if you do, as there are many many people and pets around the world who aren’t as fortunate!