WICHITA FALLS, TX (RNN Texoma) - Fur may cover their body, but when temperatures drop below freezing all pets get cold.
Karen Young is the Clinic Administrator for Dr. Young’s Animal Clinic in Wichita Falls.
“A good rule of thumb, if your pet is used to being outdoors and you have an isolated dog house or cat house for them, they can usually withstand temperatures to 30 degrees Fahrenheit. If the wind chill gets below that such as below 26 degrees than they need to be in a protected area away from the wind. Your indoor pets should not go outside for more than 5 minutes at a time when it gets that cold,” Young said.
Jodi Powell owns a lab, German shepherd, and husky mix named Simon.
“He’s my snuggle buddy and my best friend,” Powell said.
She said even though he’s a big dog and part husky she never leaves him outside for too long.
“You wouldn’t leave your kid outside. You wouldn’t leave them out for too long because then they get sick and it’s kind of the same way with a dog,” Powell said.
The Hounds Habitat Project, has converted barrels and Styrofoam containers into shelters they are passing out.
Young said dogs that aren’t used to the cold can easily catch bronchitis if they stay outside for more than five minutes.
“They're used to those warm temperatures indoors. They go outside they’re running their excited their mouth is wide open. All that cold air is going down their throat. Again, limiting their time outdoors just for their little potty break for less than 5 minutes is the best rule of thumb,” Young said.
“They are your responsibility. They’re your children basically so you need to do all of what you need to do in the winter to take care of them,” Powell said.
She is extra cautious when there is ice on the ground.
“People put out the deicing pellets and it’s actually toxic for dogs when they step on it with their paws,” Powell said.
“You need to bring them in and rinse those feet off and dry them very well to protect them,” Young said.
The holidays bring more danger to pets.
“Especially Thanksgiving through Christmas time, we’re dealing with different types of food lots of seasonings. The pets want those. Please, no table scraps, especially no bones. They can be very detrimental to their health,” Young said. “When you get closer to the Christmas season and New Year’s when people are exchanging gifts, than you’re wrapping paper, your ribbons, and of course with decorations the electrical cords. Those are biggies that you have to watch out for.”
While Young advises against table scraps during the holidays, she does encourage pet owners to increase the amount of food and water being consumed during the cold months.
“The pets need a higher caloric intake. That means you’ve got to have extra food and water for them,” Young said.
Make sure the water isn’t frozen.
“You don’t want their tongue to be injured when they are touching cold or frozen water,” Young said.
Temperatures are expected to be in the upper 20s on Saturday and Tuesday morning. These are also the type of temperatures that could kill sensitive plants.