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Take special care of pets during inclement weather

January 30, 2019
Courtesy of Lisa Perry With frigid temperatures approcahing, it is important to take extra care to be sure pets are warm.

If you are cold, your pets are cold too. I’m sure by now you have walked to the door or walked outside and been slapped in the face by Old Man Winter’s rage outside. IT IS COLD!

The West Virginia Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management (WVDHSEM), the West Virginia National Guard (WVNG) and other West Virginia state agencies are continuing to monitor the extreme cold weather front forecast that will impact the Mountain State today through Thursday.

Current weather models indicate temperatures will continue to drop to the teens and low twenties throughout West Virginia.

By today, the significant threat for extreme cold will begin, as temperatures will drop to the single digits and may dip below zero with wind chill factors during the day and overnight.

Temperatures will continue to drop on Thursday, Jan. 31, and will remain in the single digits to below zero with wind chills. Wind chill advisories and warnings are in effect for most of West Virginia on Thursday.

What does this mean? It means it is and is going to get mighty cold outside. And though you may be able to avoid the cold by staying inside or bundling up, your pets may not have the same luxury.

That is why it is important to bring them inside to a warmer location during the weather we are set to experience.

I know it isn’t always possible to bring them in 24/7, and some pets actually like the cold temperatures, especially if there is snow involved.

BUT, we have to protect them the best we can because they are not equipped to do so themselves, and a pet death by cold is unacceptable.

Here are some tips for navigating cold temperatures with pets.

> Manage outdoor activities. The safest, most comfortable place for your pets is where you are. When temperatures dip below freezing or during other severe weather, it’s imperative you keep pets indoors and make trips outside shorter.

> Offer a warm place for your pet to rest inside. A pet bed works perfectly, just make sure it stays clean and dry.

> Don’t cut your dog’s fur in the wintertime. Your pet’s winter coat is a natural barrier from the harsh elements.

> Consider a canine coat. Dogs with lots of fur probably don’t need an extra layer to go on walks in the winter. But smaller dogs and those with shorter coats may be more comfortable in a dog sweater or jacket.

> Check for frostbite. After bathroom breaks and walks, check your pet’s ears, paws and tail for any sign of frostbite or ice and snow build up in between the paw pads.

> Wipe down after walks. Keep a dry, clean towel handy to wipe down your pet’s legs, belly and paws after each outdoor excursion. Ice-melt chemicals can irritate their skin and cause serious illness if ingested.

> Be careful with chemicals. Antifreeze smells and tastes sweet to pets, but it’s toxic. Quickly clean up any spills, or consider using a brand made from non-toxic propylene glycol instead.

> Keep your pet hydrated. Ensure your pet has plenty of fresh, clean water to drink. Winter air is dry!

> Clear a path. Use a snowblower to make quick work of snow removal and create a path to your pet’s bathroom area. Always keep kids and pets away from the equipment.

> Don’t leave your pet in a cold car. It’s just as dangerous to leave a pet in a cold car in the winter as it is to leave them in a hot car in the summertime.

> Finally, if you are able, give your pet an inside vacation. You love them and they love you, let’s spread the love by keeping them alive and warm.

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