Bring pets inside during cold weather

Published 4:45 pm Friday, January 22, 2016



As winter weather moves into Beaufort County, temperatures are expected to dip into the 20s this weekend, with a mixture of rain and snow falling throughout the day on Saturday and tapering off on Sunday.

Residents are bundling up in thick jackets and gloves, anxious shoppers are perusing the bread aisle and homeowners are making sure their pipes don’t freeze.

But in all of this preparation, it’s easy to overlook one detail: the wellbeing of outdoor pets.

It’s not uncommon for pet owners to shrug off the dangers with “Oh, they’re used to the cold,” or “That’s what their fur is for.”

That all may be true, but when low temperatures are coupled with biting wind and wintry precipitation, those fur coats may not be enough to protect pets.

Think of it this way: Does one want to be outside in freezing temperatures, even if he or she is wearing a coat? More than likely, the answer will still be no.

The same is true for pets, and oftentimes, they don’t know the threshold of when cold goes from uncomfortable to deadly.

“Pets are sensitive to severe cold and are at risk for frostbite and hypothermia during extreme cold snaps. Exposed skin on noses, ears and paw pads can quickly freeze and suffer permanent damage,” according to the Humane Society of the United States.

Not only that but pets may need more food and water during cold temperatures, as keeping warm uses energy. Be sure to check a pet’s water bowl to make sure the water hasn’t frozen, and if possible, use plastic bowls to avoid a pet’s tongue from sticking to metal.

Also, the Humane Society asks that pet owners be aware of the animal’s environment; salt and brine spread over walkways and roads are irritants for pets.

Pet owners have a duty to be mindful of these hazardous situations, and that includes bringing a pet indoors temporarily during severe cold. More importantly, speak up if someone isn’t being mindful of his or her animal’s safety.

By taking these dangers seriously, animals can live happier and healthier lives.