COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - The Chattahoochee Valley is expected to receive both rain and low temperatures for the following week. While people are bundling up and preparing their homes to face the cold, pets also need protection as well.
Dr. Hank Hall with Northside Animal Hospital on Veterans Parkway gave tips and advice on keeping pets safe during the bitterly cold winter.
"It's always a common sense approach," Dr. Hall said. "When we are outside fighting the cold, remember our cats and dogs are doing the same. They are helpless during the winter."
In order to prevent dogs and cats from harm, Dr. Hall said pet owners need to provide adequate shelter and proper nutrition.
"Towels, blankets and any fabric to help keep your animals stay safe and warm should be given to your pets," Dr. Hall said. "Water bowels can freeze outside. Frozen water bowls mean no water, which can lead to dehydration. So bring your pets indoors during extremely cold weather to keep them well-fed and warm."
Cats and dogs may try to find shelter and warmth by hiding under cars. Dr. Hall recommends shooing away the animals that may be under vehicles before turning on the cars to prevent any injuries.
"Also, antifreeze drains and radiators can kill them," Dr. Hall said. "These chemicals can destroy their intestines and kill them. Antifreeze has sticky smell that animals are attracted to. Make sure to keep them away."
Although it is cold outside, Dr. Hall said people should still refrain from leaving their cats and dogs inside cars since they can still get hurt.
"You do not want to leave your pets inside a car for a long period of time," Dr. Hall said. "Animals may still suffer and have trouble breathing inside such a sheltered area. They may run out of air. It may get too cold at night or too hot when the sun is out, even during the winter time."
Dr. Hall said to watch out for some common symptoms animals display when they catch a cold.
"Just like humans, our pets can get sick from this weather too," Dr. Hall said. "They might stop eating, they might be lethargic, they might be coughing constantly, or have a nasal discharge. Make sure your pets are doing well this winter."
ASPCA also stated that most pets are lost during the winter than any other season. It is strongly recommended that all cats and dogs never leave homes without ID tags.