Keeping pets safe in winter

(WKBN) – With snow coming, many are trying to wrap up and stay warm – but there are steps people can take to ensure their pets stay safe even in the cold.

“The majority of our calls have been animals in the cold and people calling concerned about dogs without shelter, even livestock,” said Erica Rice of the Columbiana County Humane Society.

Rice said the humane society saved eight puppies from freezing temperatures on Saturday alone and that establishing adequate pet shelters is key.

“A real animal shelter in Ohio is an insulated enclosure, so a wooden dog crate filled with straw is a really good option, a lot of people are trying to use these plastic igloos. They don’t give off heat,” Rice said.

She also said that knowing the dog breed is important.

“A pit bull that’s out in 17 degrees is likely to freeze to death, while a Siberian husky with the coming storm is likely to be in his finery and say, ‘No, I don’t want to come in, I’m playing in the snow'” said Rice.

Rice said if you wrap up to go outside, short-haired breeds and other pets will get cold too.

“The other big concern is frozen water, and that’s the big thing that we see a lot, we find a dog with a great kennel but a frozen bucket of water,” Rice said.

Rice said in Ohio that dogs must have access to fresh, clean, unfrozen water at all times. Options include heated water buckets and bowls. She said pet owners should also watch their pets’ feet for signs of frostbite.

“If you see your dog constantly picking up his feet as if he doesn’t want to put them on the floor, his feet are cold and likely starting to freeze to death and he needs to be moved to a warm place to get up off the cold floor,” he said Rice.

Ice can also cut dogs’ feet and snow can accumulate between their paw beds, causing painful ice balls.

“And if it gets really cold or that snow event is coming up, maybe it’s best to leave it in the garage for a while, even if you have a dog that’s outside,” Rice said.

About Clayton Arredondo

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