Cold Weather Alert for Pets

Take extra precautions with pets over the next several days.

Temperatures are expected to dip into the upper 20s later this week and Charleston Animal Society is urging pet owners to take precautions to protect their animals.

“Different animals have different tolerances when it comes to cold weather,” said Charleston Animal Society Chief Veterinary Officer Lucy Fuller, DVM. “Older pets, thinner pets, animals with certain kinds of fur all may face challenges in freezing temperatures.”

Experts recommend shorter dog walks in very cold weather. Short-haired pets feel the cold faster because they have less protection. Animals with diabetes, heart disease and kidney disease may have difficulty regulating their body temperature.

If you can, keep your pet indoors. Despite having fur, dogs and cats can get frostbite, so no animal should be left outdoors in the cold without proper shelter

Here are some additional tips to help keep your pets safe:

1. Provide warm shelter for community cats. This can be provided through a variety of resources found in most homes, such as a sturdy box or container bin with a towel or blanket inside.

3. Bang loudly on your hood before starting your car. Outdoor or homeless cats often seek the warmth of a car engine.

4. Never leave pets alone in a car during cold weather. A car can trap cold in the winter, and potentially cause an animal to freeze to death.

5. Puppies and older dogs do not tolerate cold as well as younger adult dogs. During extreme cold consider taking them outside only for potty breaks.

6. Beware antifreeze! Antifreeze is a lethal poison for dogs and cats. Just a small amount can lead to kidney failure. ASPCA Poison Hotline: (888) 426-4355.

7. Call to help an animal in distress. If you see an animal in trouble in the cold, call your local animal control or sheriff’s office.