Do the bitter cold right thing

Published 5:26 pm Monday, February 16, 2015


There are people who have indoor pets, those who share space on the couch and have run of the house. There are those who have outdoor pets, those who live their lives roaming freely or make their homes in a pen.

But with any severe weather, especially the cold, pet owners should make preparations for their animals, just as they would for themselves. Permanent outdoor animals likely have a thick coat built up to ward off cold weather, but when temperatures dip into the teens overnight and wind chill takes them even deeper into the single digits, animals are not prepared for that kind of harsh weather. To say their fur will keep them warm in continued subzero weather is like saying a human’s ability to sweat will allow them withstand 120-degree temperatures for several days running. They might survive—might being the operative word—but they won’t the better for it.

In extreme cold, all animals need shelter of some sort, even if it’s a garage floor. They’d be even better off with some blankets to curl up in. They don’t necessarily need to come inside, according to county officials, because a round-the-clock outdoor dog would likely be uncomfortably warm inside a heated house. But they do need to have shelter.

As this week progresses, the temperatures aren’t planning to rise by much — Thursday’s and Friday’s highs are forecasted in the mid-20s., a significant cold in eastern North Carolina. When the temperature doesn’t rise above freezing, water for outdoor animals becomes an issue. An animal cannot drink water if it’s frozen, and standing water will definitely be frozen one or both of those days. Pet owners need to check their animals’ water supply regularly.

Whether hunting dogs, indoor pets, cats that just showed up one day and never left, all pets should be provided for in the coming days of bitter cold. It’s just the right thing to do.