Keeping pets safe in freezing temperatures
DENISON, Texas (KTEN) -- Gun Barrel is a beagle puppy who's about five-months-old. He's short-haired, so getting warm this winter will be a challenge.
"What it boils down to is: If you're cold as a person, you can be sure your animals are cold outside, too," said Denison Neighborhood Services Manager Robert Lay. "You do need to take precautions for them outside as well."
It can be dangerous for your furry friend to stay outside in those freezing temperatures, even if it's not all day. Experts say if they're outside for more than an hour, that's too long.
"Smaller dogs and older dogs definitely are more susceptible to cold," said Lay. "Larger breed dogs with more of a fur coat? Sure, they can tolerate the cold a little bit more, but with what we're facing tonight — especially with the wind chills — we would recommend that no dogs stay outside longer than they have to. Just to go to the bathroom, then bring them right back in."
According to the SPCA of Texas, the frigid temperatures can lead to hypothermia or pneumonia in animals, especially the young or old.
If your dog has to be outside for longer periods of time, it's highly suggested by the SPCA that you weatherproof your pet's habitat. That means adding heating elements where possible.
"We would encourage you to try to pull the doghouse somewhere that's out of the wind," said Lay. "Put a warm blanket, put some hay... put something in there."
Several cities have ordinances to help protect pets during these freezing days and nights, Denison included.
"You absolutely can not tie your dog up in weather that is below freezing," Lay noted.
Another thing to watch for are the strays. Dogs are not the only ones outside; cats tend to try to find places to hide. Experts suggest you check your vehicle's engine compartment before starting out in case a little feline has found its way into your car.