Keep pets safe, warm in extreme weather

With severely cold weather approaching, the Randolph County Humane Society would like to advise all pet owners to bring their pets inside and to use caution when exposing pets to the cold.

The general rule is that if it’s too cold for you, it’s too cold for your pets. Pets depend on their owners to keep them safe and warm during the winter months.

Bring your pets inside:The thermometer may register one temperature, but wind chills can make it feel much colder. Limit time outdoors and never leave very young, very old or short-coated dogs unsupervised in frigid weather.

Provide adequate shelter: If your dog spends extended periods of time outdoors, you must provide a well-insulated and draft-free doghouse. The opening should face south and have a flap that keeps out chilling winds. Line the floor of the doghouse with straw. Do not use blankets and towels which can freeze, making the area colder.

Provide plenty of food and water: Pets need more energy to properly regulate their body temperature in cold weather. Pets are just as likely to become dehydrated in the winter as in the summer, so be sure to supply plenty of fresh water. Refill the bowls frequently to prevent freezing.

Dry off wet pets: A wet pet is a cold pet. Dry off pets that get wet from rain or snow. Also, clean off and dry their paws to prevent cracked pads. Ice-melting chemicals will burn paws and can make pets sick when they try to lick it off.

Please remember that pets can and do freeze to death in very cold weather, and animal cruelty is against the law in West Virginia.

Mary Ann McDonald

Board member, Randolph County Humane Society