(WXYZ) - The Animal Care Network (ACN) has issued a warning for all pet owners because temperatures are dropping into the 10s and even single digits!
Cold Weather Tips:
- If you know anyone who keeps pets outdoors, persuade them to bring them inside.
- Low temperatures, winds and precipitation can lead to illness, hypothermia and death.
- Dogs and cats can suffer from frostbite in a matter of minutes, mainly on feet, ears and tails.
- Local laws require that if dogs are kept outdoors, the owner must supply the dog with "proper" shelter.
- If kept outside, use a dog house that is not oversized, since the dog needs to retain body heat.
- Put a wind flap on the dog house door.
- Provide plenty of dry straw and access to fresh, unfrozen water.
- Blankets and towels only freeze when used in a dog house.
- Snow is not sufficient to hydrate animals! Water bowls freeze!
- Dog houses must be elevated off the ground so they don't freeze on the bottom.
- If animals must be kept outside, fill dog houses with clean dry straw and face away from wind.
- Double up on food intake during cold weather! Extra weight keeps them warmer!
- Feral cats need shelter and protection from the elements.
- Cats who spend time outside can freeze, get lost, injured or climb into the bottom of warms cars for warmth.
- Salt and other chemicals can irritate the pads of animal's feet.
- When you are cold enough to go inside, pets most likely are too!
- If you see a dog or cat in need of a help, become that animal's advocate. Speak with the owner, and if that fails to improve the situation, contact your local animal shelter, humane society or animal control office.
Symptoms and Signs
The main sign of mild hypothermia in dogs in excessive shivering. Dogs shiver in order to produce body heat, thus, continuous shivering may mean the dog's body temperature is too cold. A dog with hypothermia will also breath abnormally slow and breathing patterns will become very shallow. The dog's heart rate will slow considerably and because of muscle stiffness, the dog may become clumsy, losing all coordination. Dogs may also appear lethargic. Moderate to severe hypothermia occurs when the dog's temperature falls below 95 degrees. In some cases, the dog's eyes may become very dilated and fixed, and their gums may turn very pale or bluefish in color. In extreme cases, the dog may collapse and/or enter into a coma.
Immediate treatment of hypothermia is crucial. If a dog is not treated in the appropriate time period, its temperature may become so low that it cannot be restored to normal levels, making it fatal. Take the dog immediately to a veterinarian if you suspect he has severe hypothermia or warming methods do not seem to be helping the dog.
For additional information, visit http://www.michigananimaladoptionnetwork.org .