Pet Safety During The Cold - - ABC13

Pet Safety During The Cold


Lynchburg, VA - These frigid temperatures will certainly take a toll on your pets. It's important to take all the right precautions so they stay safe.

With temperatures getting this low it's important your pets are brought inside.

Dr. Derek O'Dell with Peaksview Animal Hospital says it's still safe to take them out for about ten minutes at a time as long as they're moving, but any longer, and they are at risk for hypothermia.

"A lot of people get a false sense of security with their fur coat being longer than ours," said Dr. O'Dell.  

Dr. O'Dell says the main concern for pets in this weather is hypothermia. Your pet will become lethargic and its extremities will be cold.

"A lot of people underestimate how quick conditions can get bad for the animals," said Officer Todd Jones, who is the Chief Animal Warden for the city of Lynchburg.

Jones says they can get up to 50 calls a day during the winter months about animals left in the cold. He says it's very important you understand what is safe for your pets.

"If it's a little puppy, it doesn't have enough weight to it and may not have enough fat built up to keep it warm, it might not have a big coat yet," said Jones.

Animals should be brought inside if at all possible. But if you absolutely can't bring them in, they at least need a shelter of some kind to protect them from wind chill. 

"Some type of straw, cedar chips in their bedding," said Dr. O'Dell.

It's also important to check your pets frequently. Make sure they don't have frozen water and that they are staying warm.

"They can't tolerate this cold weather very well, just like we can't so if you can, bring your furry creatures inside," said Dr. O'Dell.

If the pain of losing your pet isn't enough incentive, keep in mind if you don't take care of your pet properly, you could be charged with a felony.

"Pets can get in trouble fast and it is a felony if a dog dies under your care and you don't provide it with the proper things it needed to stay alive," said Jones.

If your pet does not have a warm structure to live in, Dr. O'Dell says that the House of Wood and Straw Project is a local organization that exists to offer assistance. They make and deliver dog houses, along with straw to keep those pets warm.


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