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Tips to Keep Pets Safe as Temperatures Take a Dramatic Drop

With area temperatures taking a significant drop over the next few days, pets living outside are facing deadly weather conditions. Especially when forecasted temperatures consistently drop far below freezing at night.

 “A good rule of thumb is that if it is too cold for you outside or cold enough to be uncomfortable without a winter coat, then it is too cold for your pet – even outdoor pets,” shares Darci VanderSlik, Heritage Humane Society Communications Manager. “This weather is different than if we lived in a place where it gradually became cold and pets had a chance to acclimate and build up winter coats. With a dramatic temperature drop, the change is a shock to pets as well.”

Here are the most important priorities for getting pets through the next 72+ hours:

  • Bring all pets indoors, even outdoor pets, with only short trips outside to relieve themselves.
  • If bringing a pet inside is not an option, add straw to their shelter to provide warmth and insulation. It is required by law that pets have a shelter regardless of the weather.
  • Since this will be a brief cold spell, adding wool or synthetic blankets to the shelter is a decent option if straw is not available. Do not use cotton as it retains moisture instead of wicking it away which can make the pet colder.
  • By law, if the pet remains outside, it must have access to drinkable water at all times. The water will freeze and it will freeze frequently. So make sure that their water is replenished every few hours. Licking iced-over water is not going to keep a pet properly hydrated.
  • By law, the shelter must be at least 6″ off the ground, have 3 sides, a roof and a flap to protect the pet from the elements
  • If the pet remains outside, a diet with extra protein is recommended.