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Article Archive >> Community

Wisdom From a Furry Friend: Powder's Cold Weather Warning

Wisdom From a Furry Friend
Powder's Cold Weather Warning

A wonderful autumn hello to you! My name is Powder. I am a white German Shepherd living at the Humane Society of Washington County. I came here when I was picked up wandering the streets. I had a collar but no microchip, so the staff at the Humane Society couldn't contact my parents to tell them that I was here. So now I am waiting for a new home.
I am very gentle and sweet and I love to play fetch. I even know how to sit, lie down and shake. I can even bow and sometimes I am very silly and I spin. That makes people laugh so I like to do that. It sure would be nice to have a forever home and family for the holidays.
I am so glad that I am no longer out on my own. I can tell it is getting colder outside and although I have a nice thick coat, it could still get cold outside for me if I didn't have a place to get away from the elements.
Did you know that, just as you can become too cold, so can your pet? Humans often think that animals will be fine in colder weather since they are wearing fur coats. True, most healthy animals can withstand cold temperatures as long as they have shelter where they can stay dry and out of the wind. If an animal is not in excellent health or if the animal is young they can be especially susceptible to the dangers of cold weather.
What can happen to your pet if they get caught out in the cold and they are not physically able to deal with the harsh weather conditions? Hypothermia can set in and quickly affect an animal that is experiencing circulation or health problems. The cold is especially hard on cats but short coated dogs can also suffer. The areas of the body that are most often affected are the ears, tail and feet.
You might ask what is hypothermia? Well, that is a condition that occurs when animals are not able to maintain their normal body temperature. The normal body temperature for dogs and cats is between 100.5 & 102.5 degrees Fahrenheit. When they spend extended periods of time outside and are unable to get warm hypothermia may result.
Some of the symptoms of hypothermia are:
1.) In the early stages, shivering.
2.) They will become despondent, depressed and weak.
3.) Their muscles will begin to stiffen; their breathing and heart rate will slow down, and they will not react to stimuli.
4.) The pupils of their eyes may become fixed and dilated and they may slip into a coma.
If your pet displays any of these symptoms you need to get them warmed up and to a veterinarian. In order to avoid the risk of hypothermia keep your pets inside during colder weather and allow them to go outside for short periods only. They depend on you to keep them safe and healthy!

The Humane Society of Washington County exists to improve the quality of life for all animals. Through education, legislation, action and leadership, we strive to eliminate overpopulation and to foster an environment of respect, responsibility and compassion. 301-733-2060.

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