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Keep pets safe and warm this winter

Even though your pets may have furry coats, they still need you to protect them from freezing weather. If pets are left out in the cold for a long time, they ca...

Even though your pets may have furry coats, they still need you to protect them from freezing weather.

If pets are left out in the cold for a long time, they can develop health problems. An easy way to keep your pets safe from the elements is to bring them indoors.

Greater Huntsville Humane Society Director of Animal Care Spencer Batcheller said, “Bring them in at night, especially at night. If the weather typically gets around or below forty degrees, you want to bring them inside.”

If you have to leave your pet outside, make sure they have a warm place to go. You can use blankets, hay, or heat lamps to make a warm shelter.

“You can do like an enclosed porch or even just a normal dog house is fine. A lot of the newer dog houses have the front. You can go in and out from the front. The tops of them come off, and you can install heaters. You can install a heat lamp. A lot of people just use hay in barns if you can provide the bedding and as long as it’s enclosed and it’s not cold winds blowing in, it’s very helpful,” said Batcheller.

Make sure their water bowl is fresh. If it’s cold enough, their water can turn into ice. Instead of metal, use plastic bowls for food and water to prevent your pet’s tongue from sticking to the bowls.

You can also feed your pets a little more food each day. A full belly can go a long way in colder weather.

Smaller dogs lose heat more quickly than larger dogs, so your pet may need to warm up sooner than others.

“Definitely if you have a little chihuahua, you don’t want them out there in 10 degree, 20 degree weather, said Batcheller. “But if you have a big giant double layer golden retriever who loves to play in the snow or like a husky that loves to play in the snow or colder weather, it’s a little different.”

De-icing chemicals can also be dangerous for pets. Wipe their feet with a damp towel every time they come inside to prevent the pads of their feet from becoming irritated.

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