Let’s talk about winter weather preparedness. Whether you’re on the East Coast or West Coast, it seems everyone is experiencing colder, harsher weather than anticipated. We’ve all experienced ice this year. For those of us that are in cold, snowy, icy climates all the time, you might consider getting ice cleats for the bottom of their shoes. You may otherwise want to do a boot program where you have various boots of various sizes so your staff can wear them when they’re going outside.
When it comes to the dogs, that’s where it gets a little more complicated, right? You’re not going to put booties on every dog. Whether you have turf, cement, rock, wood chips, you have to work on keeping the spaces as clear of snow and ice as humanly possible. We suggest snow blowing the snow from the fence area first. If you have a six-foot high fence and two feet of snow, now you’ve got only a four-foot high fence essentially, which is not as difficult for a dog to jump. It is fun to leave some moguls in the middle for the dogs to play, but when it comes to your staff, you still need to make sure everybody is safe and secure.
It’s best to limit time outside to just potty breaks (and not allowing the dogs to stay outside longer for play time) when the temperature hits 10 degrees Fahrenheit, with the wind chill factored into that. So if the temperature itself hits 10 degrees or the windchill hits 10 degrees, keep the dogs inside your facility other than going out for quick potty breaks for five minutes or less.
Another thing to do to stay prepared is to purchase salt in advance. When you see that there’s a chance of freezing rain in the forecast or just prior to the winter, you need to be prepared. Make sure it’s pet safe salt. It’s much better to spend $100 on salt to ensure your clients that are dropping off their pets are safe and your staff are safe to prevent a broken leg or a sprained ankle.
If you’re in an area prone to flooding, definitely consider extra generators to be prepared for flooding. Be prepared with an emergency weather kit somewhere in your facility—and train your staff to know its location.
Once a year, review your emergency supplies and equipment to make sure everything is still safe and ready to use. Be prepared. Make sure your staff are safe, the dogs are safe, and your building is safe as well as your clients coming and going as safe. A little extra money to be prepared on the front end saves you big time in the end.