SPCA of Wake County Issues Safety Warning for Pet Owners During Cold Weather

Cats and Dogs. Credit: Frank and Kay Whatley, Nadia Ethier
Cats and Dogs. Credit: Frank and Kay Whatley, Nadia Ethier

The SPCA of Wake County would like to remind pet owners the importance of taking care of animals during the winter months and overnight freezing temperatures. Just as freezing temperatures can pose fatal risks for humans, they can be just as dangerous for pets.

Says SPCA of Wake County Staff Veterinarian Dr. Alice Hunsucker:

“A general rule is if it’s too cold for you, it’s too cold for your pets.”

“This isn’t just about us not wanting these animals to be uncomfortable. There are health problems these pets can face when they are left out in these near freezing temperatures. Just like humans, animals can suffer from hypothermia and frostbite or freeze to death. That’s what we don’t want to happen.”

Dr. Hunsucker also reminds pet owners that older animals with systemic diseases may be more susceptible to cold temperatures.

Here are the most important priorities for protecting pets during cold weather:

  • Bring all pets indoors, even outdoor pets, with only short trips outside to relieve themselves.
  • When pets do come inside, wipe off their paws to prevent possible burns from salt and other materials used to melt snow and ice as well as preventing pets from ingesting it.
  • If bringing a pet inside is not an option, add hay to their shelter to provide warmth and insulation. It is required by North Carolina law that pets have a shelter regardless of the weather.
  • If hay/straw is not available, add wool or synthetic blankets to the animal’s shelter. Do not use cotton as it retains moisture instead of wicking it away, which can make the pet colder.
  • If the pet remains outside, make sure that they have access to drinkable water at all times. The water will freeze and it will freeze frequently. So make sure that their water is replenished every few hours. Licking iced-over water is not going to keep a pet properly hydrated.
  • The law requires that animals have food, water, and shelter.  If you see an animal you believe does not have these essentials or may be in danger, contact your local Animal Control agency.
Aidy. Source: SPCA of Wake County
Aidy. Source: SPCA of Wake County

This time last year, “Aidy” was living outside. At ten years old, she spent her entire life outdoors. Now she is curled up on a bed at the SPCA of Wake County Pet Adoption Center where she is warm and ready to find a forever home. All animals deserve to be warm and safe through the winter. You can help make that happen by giving a gift online at spcawake.org/give.

Founded in Raleigh in 1967, the SPCA of Wake County is dedicated to creating a more humane community and transforming the lives of pets and people through protection, care, education and adoption.

 

Source: Tara Lynn, SPCA of Wake County

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