Urgent information for pets and their owners – Feb. 14, 2021

By on February 14, 2021

The national headline on weather.com currently is “Historic Winter Invasion”. No matter what you’re doing today, you’ll notice the cold. Sitting inside? Your home will be creaking in ways you’ve not heard. Driving to work or the store? The world out there is frozen. It’s not only cold, it’s dangerous.

And while you know it’s a good idea to bundle up, warm the car a bit, and go out as little as possible, you may not be changing the routine for pets. When the weather gets this frigid (currently it’s -10 degrees Fahrenheit and Monday’s low includes windchills of 30 below), even the slightest exposure can be deadly to pets. It’s a good time to be extra careful with animals when they go out of doors.

The Nebraska Humane Society has been great about keeping Omahans informed. The Henry Doorly Zoo has reported about changes to its care of animals during the cold snap. Here are a couple of tips we were sent from PETA:

  • Bring Them Indoors

Companion animals should always live indoors. “Backyard dogs” and “outdoor cats”—like those featured in Breaking the Chain, the new documentary produced by Oscar winner Anjelica Huston—often go without adequate food, water, shelter, and veterinary care. They are no better equipped to survive freezing temperatures or extreme weather conditions than humans are, they suffer terribly from frostbite, and they can die of exposure.

  • Gear Up

Coats will keep dogs comfortable in cold weather, secure harnesses can help prevent them from getting loose on walks, and booties will protect their sensitive paw pads from the frozen ground. Keep walks short in cold weather, especially for shorthaired dogs.

  • Don’t Forget Birds

During extreme winter weather, provide birds and other wild animals with access to an emergency water supply by filling a heavy nonmetal water bowl (tongues can freeze to metal) and breaking the surface ice at least twice a day.

Good Samaritans who see companion animals kept chained or penned outside 24/7 or without adequate shelter from the elements should note the animals’ exact location and alert local law-enforcement authorities immediately. Anyone who leaves animals outside to suffer in severe weather may be prosecuted.

PETA has released a cold-weather public service announcement. For more information, please visit PETA.org or follow us on TwitterFacebook, or Instagram.

Stay warm and stay inside, Omaha.

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