As the temperatures prepare to plummet into the teens on Thursday, people need to prepare their pets for the cold weather. Animal Services supervisor Joseph Pacheco said preparations are basic common sense.
Make sure the pet has adequate shelter. The standard dog houses are a start, but Pacheco believes that additional insulation is important on the coldest days. He recommends straw or hay which can be obtained from stores like Tractor Supply. The bales can be broken apart to create a bed or blankets also work.
Bedding may need to be replaced if it gets wet.
“Some people use sweaters, but they don’t give complete coverage or provide a windbreak that an animal will get from a shelter,” Pacheco said.
Sweaters, too, will need to be replaced once wet.
He urges people to reposition the dog house so the door faces away from the prevailing wind.
Pacheco said: “Tarps can go a long way as a windbreak. They cost less than $10 and can be hung on a fence.”
If a dog is on a chain, then the chain must reach to allow access to shelter.
Clear the area of debris where the chain can get tangled. Ideally, Pacheco feels that dogs, and cats, should be brought into a building, either the home, a garage or shed.
“You can put them in the laundry room if you have one of those. Just keep them out of the cold,” he said.
Another concern is water. Water bowls need to be checked daily. When the weather is 18 degrees, the water will freeze. A dog or a cat may be able to lick the ice, but this causes the body’s core temperature to drop.
“Heat up water,” Pacheco said.
Make sure the pet gets plenty of nourishment. He explained the human care-giver should feed their animals at least twice a day, every day, to store up fat and have a nice coat.
Although Pacheco spoke primarily about dogs, he said the same advice goes for cats. Provide a shelter. A dog house for small breeds works well for cats, as does hay for bedding. Bring cats inside, if at all possible.
“Animal Services will be out in force this week, and we will cite any pet owner who leaves an animal outside in the cold without adequate shelter,” Pacheco said.