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Protecting pets in the extreme cold

Protecting pets in the extreme cold

WASHINGTON COUNTY, Tenn. - Frigid temperatures are here to stay for a while in the Tri-Cities, and with these winter conditions, it's important to make sure pets are safe and warm.

"Common sense tells you when it's too cold to let your kids out to play, then it's too cold for your pet to be out there," says Wayne Thomas with Washington County Animal Control.

"A lot of people think that the fur coat  will keep them warm... it helps, but it does not help as much as you would think that it does," says veterinarian, Dr. Clint Young.

Although your pet's fur coat, does give some protection against the cold, it's not enough to withstand brutal winter conditions.

"Dogs and cats get hypothermia the same way we do. if they're outside too long then their temperature drops drastically," Dr. Young says.

Experts say it's best to bring your pets inside during cold weather to avoid health issues like hypothermia and frost bite. If pets must stay outdoors, avoid using a chain collar, as it gets very cold around a dog's neck. They do also need some type of weatherproof shelter and bedding.

"Instead of just one blanket or one little piece of towel, put numerous pieces of bedding in there, or chips, something that the dog can curl up and stay warm," Thomas says.

Also remember to keep pets hydrated. Below freezing temperatures will freeze the water bowl.

"In the mornings and maybe twice, two, three times a day when it freezes, go out break the ice out, put some fresh water in your dog's bowl," Thomas says.

If you see an animal that does not look like it is being properly sheltered or cared for, call your local animal control, and report the situation.

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