Pets need protection in cold weather, too

Published 6:00 am Friday, January 4, 2002

The cold weather has hit and everyone is bundling up to staywarm.

Veterinarians are reminding area residents to also remembertheir pets and livestock during the winter.

“Extremely young puppies could actually freeze in the cold, andolder dogs can get sick from being in the cold,” Dr. Dianne Watsonsaid. “If bringing them inside is an option, that’s alwaysbest.”

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However, many pets cannot be kept inside because they are toolarge and energetic.

If animals must be left outside to face the elements, it is bestto give them some assistance, vets agree.

“They need a small confined area, like a dog house, to block thewind, and should have some type of bedding, such as straw, hay orold blankets,” Watson said.

Heating lamps can also be used to bring warmth to animals, butcaution should be used, Watson said.

“You don’t want the heat lamp too close to them, because it canburn them quickly,” she added.

A continuous flow of food and water also helps cats and dogskeep warm in the winter.

“One of the things that’s overlooked is the amount of energy ittakes to produce body heat, so they need to have plenty of food,”Dr. Greg Howell said.

A close eye should also be kept on pets’ water bowls, which canoften freeze, leaving the animals at risk for dehydration.

Animals that are used to being walked on a regular basis cancontinue to be walked, but some caution is urged by vets.

“You don’t want to get them too hot,” Howell said. “The biggestproblem we see is taking house dogs from one extreme to another.They live in a 78 degree house and are taken out to 20 degreeweather.”

Larger animals should also not be neglected during the coldesttime of the year, said the vets.

“Cattle need to have plenty of hay available for them, becauseas they digest the hay, it generates body heat,” Howell said.

Cattle and horses should also be well-protected from the windwith barns or tree groves.