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Let Your Dog Come in from the Cold: Extreme Temperatures Dangerous for Pets

Freezing temperatures are as dangerous for your pet as they are for you. If you see a pet left in the cold, let the police know.

Credit: Patch file photo
Credit: Patch file photo
It should go without saying that if it's too cold outside for humans, it's too cold for man's best friend.

But as the area braced for wind chills as low as -45 on Sunday night, a concerned reader reached out to Plainfield Patch after noticing her neighbor's pet outside for a prolonged period of time.

According to the Plainfield Police Department, if you fear a pet has been left out in the cold too long, you shouldn't hesitate to contact police.

"They can definitely call us first and we will go out and inspect and if necessary take action," Sgt. Mike Fisher said. If further intervention is deemed necessary, police will call in Will County Animal Control for assistance, he said. The same goes during extreme heat.

According to the concerned reader, police responded Sunday and made sure the dog's owners brought him inside.

Winter Safety Tips for Pets

Here are some tips pet owners can use to keep their four-legged friends safe in the cold:
  • Don't leave pets outdoors when the temperature drops. Dogs and cats are safest indoors, unless they are taken outside for supervised walks. Small animals will freeze very quickly because of their low body weight and lack of physical protection.
  • Shorthaired dogs may feel more comfortable wearing a sweater.
  • Pets that spend a lot of time outdoors need more food during the winter because staying warm requires more energy. Water dishes should be plastic because a pet's tongue can stick and freeze to metal. It is important to check regularly to make sure water is fresh and unfrozen.
  • Salt used to melt snow and ice can irritate paws and may be harmful if ingested. Be sure to wipe feet with a damp towel before a pet licks them to remove the salt. Or consider using a pet-friendly ice melt.
  • A dog that is kept outdoors should be protected with a dry, draft-free doghouse large enough to sit and lie down comfortably, but small enough to retain the animal's body heat. The floor should be raised off the ground and be covered with cedar shavings or straw.
  • Antifreeze is deadly and because it has a sweet taste it can attract animals and children. Be sure to wipe up spills and store antifreeze out of reach. Antifreeze is available that is made with propylene glycol, which is less toxic in small amounts than that made with ethylene glycol.

Source: Humane Society of the United States

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