Take precautions for pets

Staff Reports

The arctic blast that has settled over southwest Missouri, has brought with it the chance of snow, subzero wind chills and lows in the single digits next week.

While it’s, of course, important for humans to bundle up and stay inside whenever possible, this winter weather is extremely dangerous for our pets, especially outdoor animals. The Humane Society of Missouri (HSMO) is urging extreme caution to pet parents as Missouri faces bitterly cold temperatures.

The Humane Society of Missouri’s life-saving motto in winter: 35 Degrees and Below, Protect Fido!

1. Bring pets inside: Pet’s cannot be outside for long periods of time in this weather. A common misconception that fur will protect a pet in cold weather is just that, a misconception! Just like people, cats and dogs are susceptible to hypothermia and frostbite and should not be left outside in the cold for prolonged periods of time, no matter the circumstance.

2. Provide a cozy space: If there are no other options and animals are going to be left outdoors, owners must provide a well-insulated, draft-free, appropriately sized doghouse with a sturdy, flexible covering to prevent icy winds from entering. Adequate shelter is mandatory by law.

3. Press “paws” on pet injuries: Upon coming inside, check your animal’s paws for signs of cold-weather damage, such as a cracked paw pad, redness between toes and any bleeding, as well as chemicals such as rock salt.

4. Layer up your pup: If your dog has a thinner coat or seems bothered by cooler temperatures, consider a sweater or a dog coat. But be careful – a wet sweater or coat can actually make your dog colder, so keep it dry.