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Protect your pets against the cold

Photo submitted/Miley (left) and Dixie, owned by Lindsy Massey, are sporting holiday sweaters to help keep them warm when temperatures drop below freezing later this week.

Photo submitted/Miley (left) and Dixie, owned by Lindsy Massey, are sporting holiday sweaters to help keep them warm when temperatures drop below freezing later this week.

It’s going to be wet most of this week, with lows in the mid-40s, but temperatures are expected to drop below freezing Thursday night.

That can make for some chilly dogs and cats.

The National Weather Service predicts a 20 percent chance of rain with temperatures sitting at 27 degrees by Thursday night. North winds are expected to be 5 to 10 mph.

That can be hard on pets left outside, said BARL member Rusty Adcock.

“The best place for your pets during cold weather is inside your house,” he said. “While it’s always best to bring your pets inside during cold spells, people need to at least offer any pets left outdoors a house with pine straw. Freezing temperatures can be deadly, especially to young and elderly animals.”

If you’re unable to keep your dogs inside, follow these guidelines to help keep them warm:

• A doghouse is a must for your dog.

• Face the doghouse opening away from the wind.

• Elevate the doghouse off the cold ground.  A wooden pallet works well to sit the doghouse on.

• Place a door flap over the doghouse opening.  

• Insulate the doghouse by stuffing it with pine straw or cedar shavings.  Do not use hay, due to allergies.  Do not use blankets because they will get wet and cold.

• Oversize doghouses are colder inside. A cozy size doghouse works best.

• Provide plenty of food and water for your pets. Staying warm requires more calories, so pets need additional food.

• Water should always be available. Use a plastic bowl, instead of a metal bowl and check it often to make sure the water is not frozen.

Cats also need extra protection when it gets cold.

Bang on the hood of your car before starting in cold weather. Cats will sometimes take shelter in a car’s engine.

Like dogs, cats also need warm, dry, appropriate-sized shelter during winter. Pine straw is the best bedding to use in a cat shelter.

The internet provides many sites with instructions for building DIY cat shelters, Adcock said.