ST. LOUIS, Mo. — The Humane Society of Missouri’s Animal Medical Center of Mid-America shared important safety tips to ensure pets are kept warm and safe during forecast extreme winter weather conditions.
Over the last few days, Missouri has seen temperatures well below freezing that can be life-threatening to pets. During this extreme winter weather, the Humane Society of Missouri is reminding everyone to prioritize the safety of their pets and urges pet owners to remember their lifesaving motto: “35 Degrees and Below, Protect Fido.”
Remember these six tips to protect pets in extreme temperatures:
- Bring pets inside: Pets cannot be outside for long periods of time in this weather. There is a common misconception that fur protects pets in cold weather. Just like people, cats and dogs are susceptible to hypothermia and frostbite and should not be left outside in the cold for prolonged periods of time, no matter the circumstance.
- Provide a cozy space: If there are no other options and animals are going to be left outdoors, owners must provide a well-insulated, draft-free, appropriately sized doghouse with a sturdy, flexible covering to prevent icy winds from entering. Adequate shelter is mandatory by law.
- Press “paws” on pet injuries: Upon coming inside, check an animal’s paws for signs of cold-weather damage, such as a cracked paw pad, redness between toes and any bleeding, as well as chemicals such as rock salt.
- Layer up your pup: If a dog has a thinner coat or seems bothered by cooler temperatures, consider a sweater or a dog coat. But be careful – a wet sweater or coat can actually make a dog colder, so keep it dry.
- Schedule a winter wellness exam: If your pet has not visited the veterinarian for their annual wellness exam, don’t delay. Cold weather may worsen certain medical conditions such as arthritis, so bring pets to the vet right away.
If anyone sees an animal in distress, they are urged to call their local police and the Humane Society of Missouri Animal Cruelty Hotline immediately at 314-647-4400.
More information about how to care for pets during cold weather months is available by visiting the Humane Society of Missouri website at www.hsmo.org/protectfido.