SOME HELPFUL tips for winter care, and some offers and notices for pet owners:
* Dogs can be miserable in the winter if left out too long, if left without proper shelter or if not fed properly.
A dog conditioned to being outside and who has a well-insulated house will not suffer like the dog who lives indoors and is left out too long. Thirty minutes outside should be the maximum stay for a dog that is accustomed to living indoors.
* Animals burn more calories keeping warm in winter, therefore they need more food at that time. Check with your veterinarian for proper increase.
* There is poison on the roadway for pets. Owners who let them run freely and joggers who run with their dogs should take heed. When snow and ice mix with the salt that is used to melt it, it becomes a deadly mush for animals. Many have died from drinking the salt-laden water that has collected in puddles along the roadway. Also, paws should be washed off if they have been on the sidewalks or roadways where salt has been spread.
* For cats, the deadliest poison is one which they are very attracted to because of its sweet taste. It is ethylene glycol in antifreeze, Sterno and in windshield de-icers.
* Speaking of poisons, a dog should never be given chocolate because it contains theobromine, which can be lethal to it.
* Also for joggers, a dog should not run unless he is completely conditioned for it, particularly in extreme cold or heat. However, no dog, conditioned or not, should ever run more than an absolute maximum of two miles at any time.
* A promotion to prevent overpopulation of pets, "Have a Heart -- Prevent a Litter," is being held during February by the SPCA of Anne Arundel County. This is a coupon offer for a 20 percent discount on spaying and neutering.
"Only one out of every two puppies and kittens born in the United States finds a home. Too many people think that allowing their pet to have one litter won't hurt, but they are wrong. Every home they find for their puppies or kittens means one less for another animal, and the leftovers are brought to the SPCA. Spaying and neutering will stop this tragedy," says Leslie Marshall-Lawton, SPCA staff.
Coupons will be honored by more than 20 veterinary hospitals in Anne Arundel County or the Eastern shore, and participating veterinarians are giving the discount at their own expense. For names of participating veterinarians and where to obtain coupons, call 268-2659.
* A basic obedience training course will be offered at the %J Municipal Animal Shelter, 301 Stockholm St., beginning March 16. Carolyn Machowski, a veterinary technician and obedience trainer at the shelter, will teach the nine-week course from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. Saturdays. Registration begins March 9 and the course cost $40. Call Machowski or Jacelyn Smith at 396-4688 for registration details.
* The Northeastern Maryland Kennel Club will hold an AKC-sanctioned breed and obedience match from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, Jan. 26 and 27 in the Hoyle Gym at Edgewood Arsenal, Edgewood. Obedience will be held on Saturday with junior showmanship and conformation on Sunday. Spectators are free. For entry information and other details, call 679-1522 or 836-6489.
* The Pets on Wheels program of the Baltimore City Commission on Aging and Retirement Education, in which pet owners take their pets to visit nursing home residents, holds observation classes periodically for those who want to join. The next pet observation class will be held at 10 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 12, at the Hunting Ridge Presbyterian Church, Rt. 40 at Winans Way in Zone 21229. Details: 396-1762.