Animal Owners Urged to Protect Animals from Dangerous Cold

| January 31, 2019

VENANGO CO, Pa. (EYT) – With extremely cold temperatures and wind chills in the forecast, animal owners are being urged to protect animals from exposure that could cause cold-related health issues.

Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding recently urged all animal owners to protect animals from exposures that could cause cold-related stress.

“Cold weather doesn’t only impact people, it also can cause distress for companion animals and livestock,” Redding said. “Whether the animals you care for are homed in the house or in the barn, we remind you to take the necessary steps to ensure their safety during the intense cold.”

According to Deputy Ryan Williams of the Venango County Sheriff’s Office, who also functions as a humane officer for Venango County, cold weather should always be taken seriously when it comes to the safety of animals.

“The law says that animals aren’t allowed to be tethered out for more than a half hour when the temperature is below 32 degrees,” Deputy Williams noted.

“You should also make sure animals stay well hydrated and have access to adequate shelter when they are outside for a period of time and don’t ever leave animals outside too long in the kind of bitterly cold weather that we have coming.”

Sam Doverspike, a Veterinarian at Franklin Animal clinic, noted that hypothermia is one concern, but frostbite is also a concern with pets.

“Pets can get frostbite if they’re outside for too long in this kind of weather, the pads of their paws can be sensitive to the cold,” Doverspike said.

“Deicers and rock salt can be irritating to their feet, as well. You should check your pets feed and rinse or wipe them off if you have salt or deicer out.”

According to the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), like people, pets’ cold tolerance can vary widely from pet to pet based on their coat, body fat stores, activity level, and health. Owners should be aware of their pet’s tolerance for cold weather and adjust to it accordingly.

Like people, the animals most susceptible to cold-related health issues are often the very youngest and very oldest. Pets with certain health conditions, including diabetes, heart disease, kidney disease, or hormonal imbalances (such as Cushing’s disease) can also have a harder time regulating their body temperature, which can make them more susceptible to problems from temperature extremes.

Animals kept in temperatures below freezing are susceptible to hypothermia, which can result in frostbite in their extremities as well as life-threatening respiratory conditions and decreased heart rates. Symptoms of hypothermia include shivering, lethargy, low heart rate, and unresponsiveness.

Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding offered additional tips for helping pets and livestock deal with the cold:

  • Protect animals from the wind.
  • Provide adequate clean, dry bedding.
  • Keep animals clean and dry to maximize the insulating properties of their coats.
  • Change water often to prevent it from freezing. Pets need water to prevent dehydration, which can contribute to hypothermia.
  • Provide additional feed, including hay and grain, to livestock. Ensure it remains unfrozen.
  • Never leave pets in parked cars.

If your animals exhibit signs of hypothermia, you should immediately contact a local veterinarian.

If you suspect animal abuse or neglect and would like to report it, you should contact your local humane society police officer or local police station. In the absence of local police, contact the Pennsylvania State Police.

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Category: Local News, News