Spring might be knocking at the door, but March is roaring in like a lion as the National Weather Service issues winter weather advisories, winter storm warnings, avalanche warnings, flood watches, and blizzard warnings across the country. With winter still in full swing, vets and animal care centers are reminding pet owners not to leave their furry friends outside.
Tragedy can easily strike when pets are left to fend for themselves against the icy elements. Police in Lansing, Michigan are looking for the person who left a puppy out in the cold last week, trapped in a crate where it froze to death. In Roseville, Michigan, two men left a dog chained up behind a Walmart at the end of January, forcing the canine to chew its own paw off in an attempt to escape the bitter cold. (Fortunately, this dog is expected to recover.)
While many pets do need their time outdoors, steps should be taken to ensure that they are not left outside for too long. The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals advises that pets not be left alone in vehicles in cold temperatures, animals be toweled off when coming indoors, long haired pets be trimmed to prevent chemicals and ice balls from clinging, pets be brushed to stimulate blood circulation, and more food and water be put out.
Essentially, pets require the same protection from the cold that humans do.
If a pet does need to be kept outside for extended periods of time, there are still steps that can be taken to ensure that the animal is safe.
“You can always bring them in your garage when it is really cold like this if they are outside dogs,” Amanda Chester of the Ardmore Animal Shelter in Oklahoma told KXII. “That is what we urge people to do because if it is too cold for you then it is too cold for them.”