Protect Pets From Cold Weather

COLUMBUS, GA (WXTX) - With the mercury dropping, many people  forget to bring their pets in from the cold. Fox 54 caught up with some pet professionals who have helpful tips for keeping your animals warm this winter.

Dr. Hank Hall is a veterinarian at the Northside Animal Hospital in Columbus. He said, "Just like we know it's cold out there and we bundle up with extra scarf, sweater or jacket. Our pets don't have that latitude and especially the short hair pets can be prone to cold weather."

"Once the temperatures drop down to below freezing, that's when there's a problem. Domesticated animals can't deal with that," agreed Jonathan Lee, owner of the "One Stop Pet Shop" in Phenix City.

When asked what families can do with their outdoor pets, Lee replied, "A lot of people bring animals into the house like a laundry room, garage, anything not out in the elements."

Dr. Hall added, "Indoor/outdoor dogs go out, take care of business, come back in and they're fine. Outdoor dogs you have to be sensitive to and make sure they have shelter not only from the cold but the rain and the wind can make them cold."

Vets and pet store owners alike say food for the animals must be checked regularly, and you may need to feed them more than usual during the cold temperatures. Dr. Hall also recommends watching the water bowl, "Always have fresh water. Water will freeze outside and they can't lick it so make sure there's water, and more than one bowl in case they knock it over."

Lee added, "For those who live outside, it needs to be replaced. Frozen water is like no water."

And even if your pets live in a fish bowl or a cage, Lee says they also need to be watched carefully in extreme weather, "Hamsters, gerbils, rabbits, anything that's indoors you want it to be ambient air temperature. So don't put it above or next to a vent, just put it out in the room. If you're comfortable most of the time the animal is comfortable."