SPCA Wake: Dropping Temperatures Dangerous for Pets

Puppies rescued from cold. Source: Beth Schulman, SPCA of Wake County (NC)
Puppies rescued from cold. Source: Beth Schulman, SPCA of Wake County (NC)

Tips to Keep Pets Safe as Temperatures Take a Dramatic Drop

With low temperatures expected to drop into the 20s this week, the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animal of Wake County (SPCA Wake) is reminding pet owners to consider pet safety during cold weather.

“A general rule is if it’s too cold for you, it’s too cold for your pets,” says SPCA Wake Staff Veterinarian Dr. Alice Hunsucker.

The best way to protect your pet from winter weather is to bring him/her indoors, taking dogs outside for short trips to relieve themselves.

“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,” added Dr. Hunsucker.

Here are a few things to remember to help pets stay safe during winter weather:

  • If bringing a pet inside is not a possibility, make sure they have shelter with warm, dry bedding. The shelter should block the wind and be off the ground a bit. Adding hay helps with insulation.
  • As always, your pet needs access to fresh water. In the winter, this means changing the water frequently or using a pet-safe, heated water bowl to keep the water from freezing. Licking frozen-over water will not keep a pet properly hydrated.
  • When dogs come back inside after a walk, be sure to wipe their paws. Salt and other chemicals used to treat roads can burn paw pads and be harmful if ingested.
  • 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 great danger, please contact your local Animal Control agency.

Around this time last year, the SPCA took in eight puppies that were found outside in freezing temperatures. Some were so cold their temperatures didn’t register. It was clear the puppies wouldn’t have survived much longer.

North Carolina may not see feet of snow each winter, but these temperatures are not to be taken lightly. Steps should be taken to ensure pets’ health and safety as the temperatures drop.

The SPCA Wake serves the central region of NC, actively working in 25 NC counties through collaborative partnerships that save pets and help people. Significant activities include: Decreasing the number of animals entering animal shelters, increasing the number of animals leaving these shelters, and changing the hearts and minds of our community to value all companion animals.  Our mission is to transform the lives of pets and people through protection, care, education, and adoption. Our vision is to create a humane community. Visit spcawake.org.


Source: Beth Schulman, SPCA of Wake County (NC)


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