Keeping pets protected in cold weather

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Published: Dec. 8, 2018 at 9:47 PM EST
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CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - Temperatures are going to be frigid this weekend and it’s important to keep our pets protected.

Keep pets sheltered

Even if your cat primarily stays outdoors, you should bring them inside, the Humane Society says. Dogs too.

If your dog is outside for any reason, the Humane Society says to protect them with a dry shelter that is large enough to allow them to move but small enough to hold in body heat. The floor should be raised a few inches from the ground and covered with cedar shavings or straw. The doorway should be covered with waterproof burlap or heavy plastic.

It’s important to check your pet’s water and make sure it’s not frozen.

"Use plastic food and water bowls; when the temperature is low, your pet's tongue can stick and freeze to metal," the Humane Society says.

So how cold is too cold for your pup? A number of factors must be considered. Does your dog have a short hair or long hair? Is your dog big or small? Age can also play a factor, as its harder for older dogs to regulate their body temperature.

Other factors to take into account include wind chill, dampness, cloud cover and activity.

According to PetMD, cold-associated health problems like hypothermia and frostbite can set in when the temperature reaches 20 degrees.

Bundle up

Windchill can threaten a pet's life and exposed skin (noses, paw pads) is at risk for frostbite during extremely cold weather.

Consider a sweater or jacket for your pet, even for short walks.

Chemicals used to melt snow can irritate your pet’s paw pads, so the Humane Society recommends wiping paw pads with a damp towel before your pet tries to lick the chemicals off.

"Antifreeze is a deadly poison, but it has a sweet taste that may attract animals and children," the Humane Society says. "Wipe up any antifreeze spills immediately and keep it, like all household chemicals, out of reach."

Coolants and antifreeze made with propylene glycol are less toxic to pets.

If your pet eats any rock salt, you’re advised to call a veterinarian immediately.

Outdoor animals

Cars can be a hazard to outdoor animals, who might find comfort in the warmth of engines and crawl up under the hood. The Humane Society recommends banging on your car hood to scare away any potential animals before starting your engine.

If you’re concerned about a neglected animal, follow these steps on reporting wintertime neglect.

The Humane Society asks those who see neglect to take note of the exact date, time, location and type of animal involved.

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