EASTON — With extreme cold weather conditions quickly approaching, Talbot Humane lends advice to pet owners to help keep animals safe.
“We always recommend that pets be companion indoor animals, especially during times of extreme weather,” Talbot Humane Society Executive Director Patty Crankshaw-Quimby said.
If pets cannot be brought inside, Quimby said there are several essential items to ensure pet safety like properly insulated and sized dog houses with adequate bedding, unfrozen water at all times and protection from other elements, like wind.
“Just a dog house isn’t enough,” Quimby said. “If it’s windy, the dog house must be positioned in such a way that the wind isn’t blowing into the door flaps.”
If pet owners have questions as to whether their pet shelters are appropriate, Quimby said Talbot Humane Society officers are happy to help and may be reached at 410-822-0107.
For feral cats or outdoor cats, shelters can be built out of materials like Rubbermaid containers, Quimby said. More related information may be found on Talbot Humane’s Facebook page.
“If your dog is generally an outdoor dog, but this cold weather is coming, call us. We will give you a crate, we will deliver a crate to your house if you’re in Talbot County and give you whatever you need to help protect that animal,” Quimby said. “Our goal is to prevent animals from suffering all year long, but during these times of extreme weather is really important.”
For animals that live indoors and like to play outside, owners should be aware of their paws, she said.
“Dogs can get frost bite on their nose, ear tips and paws,” Quimby said. “Limit their time outside when the wind chill is up. They’re not conditioned to that kind of weather.”
Dogs’ and cats’ normal body temperatures run slightly higher than humans’ at 99 to 102 degrees Fahrenheit, Dr. Rachel Mowell of High Street Veterinary Practice in Chestertown said.
Mowell said hypothermia is broken down into three stages: mild (90 to 99 degrees Fahrenheit), moderate (82 to 90 degrees Fahrenheit) and severe (82 degrees Fahrenheit and below).
She also listed symptoms of hypothermia, which are applicable to both dogs and cats. Symptoms of mild hypothermia include shivering, confusion, weakness and slow to move. Moderate hypothermia entails staggering, collapse and inability to shiver. Mowell said most animals under severe hypothermia do not recover.
Quimby said if owners see symptoms of hypothermia in their pets, they need to contact their veterinarian.
Also, snow-covered grounds mask scents which may cause animals to lose their sense of direction.
For lost pets, Quimby advises owners to call their county’s agency, as well as surrounding counties’, and make a lost pet report. Owners should also provide a photo of the pet and current information on them. Talbot Humane Society encourages microchipping, which they offer at $10.
Quimby’s main message to pet owners is to call Talbot Humane Society, they want to help.
“We’re constantly trying to encourage a more humane community for pet owners,” she said.