|Pet owners urged to take caution during cold weather|
|Written by Olivia Gilbertsen, Staff Writer|
|Wednesday, 06 February 2013 15:58|
This past week’s freezing temperatures in central Illinois have animal advocates urging pet owners to remember the dangerous effects extreme weather can have on animals.
Although most pets have some protection from the cold due to their fur coats, animals can still be injured by cold and extreme weather conditions.
It is important to realize that animals’ water sources can freeze and they are still susceptible to frostbite despite, their coats.
“There is really no set temperature that is too cold. It depends on the animal,” Pete Lammers, assistant professor in animal science, said.
“The real issue is acclimatization. If the animal is used to being outside, it will develop a thicker coat, however, if your animal is used to being indoors, they should not be left out in extreme weather for an extended amount of time,” Lammers added.
According to Lammers, the size of the animal and the thickness and quality of the coat also is something that can affect pets’ ability to withstand harsh weather.
“The real challenge in leaving animals outdoors is not so much the cold, but wind and moisture,” he said.
Simon also gave some important tips to keep in mind if leaving animals outside is necessary.
“If the animal needs to be left outside, it is important to make sure they have a wind repellent shelter that is raised off the ground. The shelter should be large enough for the animal to comfortably sit or lay,” Simon said.
She also mentioned the importance of keeping water supplies in plastic rather than metal bowls so tongues do not stick.
In addition, it is extremely important to check that the water supply is not frozen. Plus, adequate food should be provided.
Simon also urged to keep winter chemicals, such as antifreeze, away from animals, as they taste sweet but are highly toxic. It is also important to wipe off paws when the animals return indoors to remove harmful salts.