Freezing temps make our pets sick

WICHITA FALLS, Tx (RNN Texoma) - The cold temperatures are freezing doggy bowls and bones making the canines sick.

"They can get frostbite on their ears and toes," Jan Herzog a volunteer at P.E.T.S. Low Cost Spay & Neuter. "They can just really suffer."

Herzog said dogs with short hair, are not bred for cold weather, or aging pets should be kept inside as much as possible.

"Their arthritis can become really painful," Herzog said. "They have less body fat to help them with the cold."

Herzog said there are ways to keep the pets warm. She advised pet owners to always have warm water around because water can freeze in the cold temperatures that cause animals to dehydrate.

Another tip is put wood chips and hay inside their dog or cat houses because blankets can freeze the pets if the fabric gets wet.

"Even though my [dog] is nice fluffy and furry and loves the outside, he still wants to come in and get warm," Rachel McBaniel a certified trainer at Pet Smart said.

She said there are signs to look out for if it is too cold outside for your furry friend.

"They're shivering when it's very cold, they're panting a lot," McBaniel said. "There feet are going to get cold the first of course because they're walking on the ground when it's very very cold. We don't walk out there barefoot and if we did it would hurt our feet."

Touching the animal's ears is another way to check.

If the pet owners do not adjust their care for their furry friends with the dropping temperature, Herzog said it can cause hypothermia, frostbite or even death.

There are non-profit organizations that help pet owners to keep their dogs or cats warm.

"P.E.T.S. has a dog house program and so they provide dog houses as well as some cat houses and the hay for those homeowners that don't have the resources," Katrena Hamburger city of Wichita Falls Animal Services Administrator said.

There is more information on the P.E.T.S housing program on their Facebook page.