East Texas animal experts say keeping pets warm should be priority

By Morgan Thomas - bio | email

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) – Don't go to bed before checking on your cats and dogs. Keeping them warm though these freezing temps may take a few extra steps, but it could mean the difference between life and death to your family's pets.

"The most susceptible dogs to the cold weather are out small breeds or short-hair dogs. Dogs that are not used to cold - which would be most our dogs around here," said C.R. Shillings, DVM.

Just like us, East Texas dogs and cats just aren't acclimated to this kind of cold weather. That's Shillings says keeping them warm has to be a priority: hypothermia and frostbite are real threats.

"Frostbite will involve the front pads, the nose, the scrotum of male dogs, and the tips of the ears," said Shillings.

The best way to prevent that is bringing them inside.

"If you don't want them running around your house put them in your laundry room - just keep them warm," said Lacey Bland, Humane Society of Angelina County.

In cases where you have no choice but leave them outdoors, animal experts say the most important thing for freezing temps is a roof over their heads and something like a tarp to block them from the wind.

"If you're going to keep them outside they need to have a heat lamp on them. They need to do something that will keep them warm - a blanket is just not going to cut it in this weather," said Bland:.it may take a little extra work to make sure they're ok.

"These hoses are frozen as hard as a brick. That's why we're having to physically tote the water and it's tough," said Janet Hunter who runs an area animal rescue.

Hunter takes care of over a hundred stray dogs and cats at her rescue sanctuary. They're experiencing water problems thanks to frozen pipes... but it's not stopping them from keeping fresh water in their bowls and their cages and dishes clean.

"Thus far the water in one of the houses is still running - so keep fingers crossed that stays running so we tote water from the house to here and back and forth," said Hunter.

She says they're vulnerable creatures, and they're worth it.

If you have to walk your dog, the vet recommends taking more frequent, short walks versus a longer one.

Adding that they may need to be warmed up with warm towels, a warm bath or even using a hair dryer.

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