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Pets and Freezing Temperatures

Pets and Freezing Temperatures

Every year, PETA receives complains about dogs who are left outside in the cold. Although they are equipped with fur coats, dogs and other animals can still suffer from frostbite, exposure, and dehydration when water sources freeze. Cold weather spells extra hardship for "backyard" dogs, who often go without adequate food, water, shelter, or medical care.
Now that your area is being blasted with cold weather, please consider your pets with these helpful tips:
* Keep animals inside, particularly puppies and kittens, elderly animals, small animals, and dogs with short hair, including pointers, beagles, Pit Bulls, Rottweilers, and Dobermans. Short-haired animals will also benefit from a warm sweater or coat on walks.
* Don't allow your cat or dog to roam freely outdoors. During winter, cats sometimes climb up under the hoods of cars to be near warm engines and are badly injured or killed when the car is started. (To help prevent this, bang loudly on the hood of your car before starting the engine.) Animals can also become disoriented when there is snow or ice on the ground. More animals are lost during the winter than during any other season.
* Increase animals' food rations during winter because they are burning more calories to keep warm. Also, be sure that animals are free of internal parasites, which can rob them of vital nutrients.
* Keep an eye out for strays. Bring unidentified animals inside until you can find their guardians or take them to an animal shelter. If strays are skittish or otherwise unapproachable, provide food and water and call your local humane society for assistance in trapping them and getting them indoors.
* Wipe off your dogs' or cats' legs, feet and stomachs after they come in from the show. Salt and other chemicals can make your animals sick if they ingest them while cleaning themselves.
* When you see dogs left outdoors, provide them with proper shelter. Doghouses should be made of wood (because metal conducts cold) and positioned in any sunny location during cold weather. Raise the house off the ground several inches and put a flap over the door to keep out cold drafts. Use straw for bedding--rugs and blankets can get wet and freeze.
PETA is also sending its cold-weather public service announcement featuring New York Giants defensive end Michael Strahan to TV stations serving your area. For more information visit or contact Cindy Kalkbrenner at the Washington County Humane Society by calling 301-733-2060 X 237.

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