Emergency Cold Weather Warning For Pets

By Emma Koch - 21Alive

Emergency Cold Weather Warning For Pets

January 3, 2014 Updated Jan 3, 2014 at 4:08 PM EDT

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (21Alive) -- Animal Care & Control is urging pet owners to safely secure animals inside a warm garage, enclosure or the home during the current winter conditions.

A dog kept inside a garage will need a doghouse built specific to an animal and have straw or wood chips inside for warmth. Free straw is available at Fort Wayne Animal Care & Control.

Provide additional food and unfrozen, drinking water.

Keep cats inside. Cats are in danger of freezing and suffering frostbite or hypothermia when left outside. Cats may seek warmth under the hoods of cars and be injured by the fan belt when the car engine is started. If there are outdoor cats in your area, bang on the car hood before starting the engine to give the cat a chance to escape.

Limit dog walks and outdoor play. Remove snow and ice from their foot pads and thoroughly wipe off your dog's legs and stomach to remove salt and antifreeze. Shorthaired breeds will benefit from a dog sweater with a high collar and coverage from the base of the tail to the belly.

Hypothermia is a drastic lowering of the body temperature. Signs may include a weak pulse, decreased heart rate, shivering, dilated pupils and pale mucous membranes.

Remove the animal from the cold, wrap the animal in a blanket and place warm water bottles, also wrapped in towels, next to the animal. Call a veterinarian immediately for further guidance.

Contact Animal Care & Control to report animals in need of assistance regardless of the day or time. Call 311 or 427-1244. After hours, call 449-3000.

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