Mineral Wells Index, Mineral Wells, TX

Local News

January 10, 2014

Don’t forget your pets: Cold weather brings safety hazards

By TYLER MASK

Although some people can’t stand the cold, while others absolutely love it, extreme weather conditions can present safety hazards for us all, including our pets. Whether you take your pets outdoors for some routine exercises or your pets live outside, there are precautions everyone should take.

It’s no secret that cold weather can be a hardship on animals, but just how serious can it be? Despite our four-legged friends having a furry coat, which some may feel is sufficient protection, the truth is that most pets are not made to endure the cold.

When asked at what temperature pet owners should start taking precautions, Dr. Tad Jarrett of Brazos Animal Hospital said, “Anything below 50 degrees is going to cause stress to the animals. Of course, it [also] depends on their hair coat and body mass.”

Shelter is a key thing to remember. “The thing about extreme weather is keeping them dry and keeping them out of the wind,” Jarrett said. If pets must be left outside for extended periods of time, Jarrett suggests they have an air-tight shelter that is free of wind draft and moisture.

Homemade houses that are well built and have a flap covering the door or igloo shaped dog houses with proper insulation and carpeting are two options Jarrett considers sufficient for outside pets. However, Jarrett also recommends that owners bring pets in when things get too cold.

Hydration is another key thing to remember. If the temperature is below freezing, owners should monitor their pet’s water source often. In closing, Jarrett said, “Most dogs need to be brought in if the water is freezing.”

And he greatly emphasized “need.”

According to the American Animal Hospital Association, here’s a list of some other key things to remember:

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