Weather Preparedness

I was actually going to post a different article today, but with these “Arctic Blasts” that are bursting into the headlines and temperatures dropping below freezing, I thought this topic was in urgent need of discussing.

The never-ending posts on the internet of morons who have left or continue to leave their animals outside is taking a toll on me; I will never understand cruelty to any living creature! Yesterday on Facebook I read about 8 dogs that froze to death, about 5 seniors who were dumped at shelters, 2 little dogs in a carrier left outside with a wet towel covering it, and another dog tied to the front of a shelter door in 7 degree weather. Come on people, what kind of human beings have we become? Is it a lack of common sense or do people just not care? I’m just at a loss for words!

Vic DiBitettos video says it all!

Most pet owners are responsible and generally do the right thing when it comes to their pets, but sadly there are people who don’t care about the weather and feel that no one else should tell them how to properly take care of their dogs.

All 50 states have felony animal cruelty laws, according to the Animal Legal Defense Fund. What they may not have though is a provision that defines leaving your pet out in the cold as “cruelty.” Thankfully, this is something more states are adding this to criteria for creulty. For example: in my state of NJ, you can’t leave dogs tied up outside in bad weather anymore. You can read more about this here:

Many dog owners believe that because their pet has a coat of fur, they can tolerate the cold better than humans–this isn’t the case. Cold weather can be as hard on them as it is on us humans. It’s simple really, if you’re cold, they’re cold! There are MANY articles out there written about cold weather safety tips, if you haven’t already brushed up on your cold weather safety, I have included some article links below. PLEASE take some time and read them, your pups life may depend on it.

There are two serious cold weather conditions that you should take care to prevent.

Frostbite begins when the dog’s body gets cold. The body automatically pulls blood from the extremities to the center of the body to stay warm. The dog’s ears, paws or tail can get so cold that ice crystals can form in the tissue and damage it. Frostbite is not immediately obvious, so watch for signs of pale or grey skin they may also be hard and cold. As frostbitten areas warm, they can be painful. Severely frostbitten skin will eventually turn black and fall off.

Hypothermia is a second serious winter weather concern. This occurs when a dog spends too much time in the cold, gets wet in cold temperature or when dogs with poor health or circulation issues are exposed to cold. In mild cases, the dog will shiver and their ears and feet may get cold. As hypothermia progresses, your pup may show signs of depression and lethargy. As the condition worsens, muscles will stiffen, heart and breathing rates slow down, and dogs will not respond to stimuli; severe hypothermia is life threatening.

Protecting your dog from frostbite and hypothermia is extremely critical, so pay close attention to your pup outside in the cold weather and learn how to recognize the signs that your dog needs to come indoors and warm up.

A good rule of thumb is that if it’s too cold for you to stand at the door without a coat on, it’s too cold for your dog too. Make sure to put an extra layer of protection on your pup when they go outside like a sweater or coat. Pay attention to your pup’s behavior while outdoors. If you notice your dog whining, shivering or appearing anxious, or they seems to be looking for places to burrow, then it’s time to bring them inside.

Limit outdoor time in the winter. Your dog is family! They may love to spend time outdoors but in winter even the furriest dog can get cold. Ears, paws and tails are susceptible to frostbite. Take your dog out for walks, exercise and play, but when the temperature drops, don’t leave them outdoors for long periods of time. A good way to know his long is to long for your pup to be outdoors is to test this on yourself. Go out with your dog, and when you’re ready to come in, they are ready too. If your pup is outside in the yard by themselves, check often to make sure they are not showing signs of being cold.

Harsh winter weather can cause a wide variety of concerns, bitter cold, numbing wetness or wind can cause discomfort for that special dog in your life. Paying special attention to your furry friend’s well being during the winter season will ensure that you both enjoy the season. Don’t forget that winter cuddles with your furry family member are a great way for everybody to keep warm!

Winter Safety Tips:

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