With temperatures spending more time going down than going up during the upcoming winter months, don’t forget about the comfort of your pets, especially those that stay outside.
Orange County Animal Services sent out a reminder that is good for pet owners in Durham, too.
“The most important thing that pet owners can do to keep their pets safe is to keep them indoors as temperatures drop,” their news release said. “Freezing temperatures can be dangerous for pets and people alike.”
Another blast of cold air is expected for the area this weekend, with overnight lows falling into the low-30s, according to weather forecasts.
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“It is a common misbelief that dogs and cats are more resistant than people to cold weather because of their fur, but that is untrue,” officials said. “Like people, different pets have various levels of tolerance to cold weather, but even long and thick-haired pets are at risk to frostbite, hypothermia, and even death when temperatures reach certain levels.”
Very young and old pets, and those with health issues are more susceptible to problems in extreme weather.
Horses and livestock should have access to a barn or shelter that protects from cold and wind. Blankets may help keep horses dry and warm, especially if rain or snow is present. All animals spending any amount of time outdoors should be given extra food during colder temperatures. Water should be checked frequently for freezing and changed regularly. Heated buckets or water heaters may be used for horses and livestock to ensure water does not freeze.
In Orange County, if you see a pet left outdoors without adequate protection from the elements, report it to Animal Services right away by calling 919-942-PETS (7387) or by calling 911 after hours if the situation is life-threatening.
Cold Weather Reminders For Pets
▪ Bang on hoods! Warm vehicle engines can be appealing to cats and other animals when temperatures drop. Bang on hoods and check underneath cars before starting the engine during cold temps.
▪ Prevent Poisoning! Antifreeze and other common chemicals smell sweet and can be tempting for animals. Wipe up any spills and supervise pets when they are outdoors.
▪ Wipe and check paws! Salt and other chemicals used to melt snow can be dangerous for pets’ paws. Be sure to wipe down your dog’s feet after walks. Check all paws frequently for common cold weather problems like cracked pads or frostbite.
▪ Collar and Chip! Lost pets may have an even harder time finding their way home in extremely cold temps. The sense of smell may be affected and pets may become disoriented more quickly. Be sure your pet is wearing his or her collar and is microchipped with updated information in case you are separated from him or her for any reason.
▪ See a Vet! A yearly check-up for pets is recommended, and winter is a great time to schedule one if you haven’t already. Making sure your pet is in good health and knowing any health concerns that should be factored into outside time can go a long way in protecting your pet.
▪ Be Proactive! Just like having an emergency preparedness kit, it’s important to think ahead for cold weather preparation. Sweaters for short-haired dogs, blankets for horses, straw, heaters, medications, needed phone numbers, and other materials should be on-hand and ready for use in the event that cold weather strikes or power outages occur.
▪ Educate & Inform! Make sure neighbors, friends, and family also know these cold weather safety tips and are doing their part to keep household and community animals (and people) safe during the bitter cold!