Don’t Forget to Protect Pets from the Deep Chill

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) - As we talk about braving the deep chill settling into the Tennessee Valley, it's important not to forget the creatures who count on us to help them keep warm.

Sub-freezing temperatures are already claiming lives.

On a bright sunny morning outside Apollo Animal Hospital and Pet Resort, you can see the breath of a dog barking, much like the breath of a human breathing in bone-chilling temperatures.

Veterinarians are putting out the message to people in North Alabama:  don't forget pets in your plans of bundling up during sub-freezing weather.

"The main thing is to make sure they're protected," said Dr. Jennifer Hahs, a veterinarian at Apollo Animal Hospital.  "When the weather gets to be this close and we have a lot of wind."

Hahs said she's already seen one death over the last few days.  It was a puppy someone brought in with a body temperature too low to save, due to being left out in the cold.

"When the temperature shifts, they're going to be more susceptible to any infections in respiratory tracts," said Hahs.  "So it's important to watch for any type of runny nose or see anything like coughing.  Just use common sense as far as what you would do to keep yourself warm in these kind of temperatures."

Pet owners can find plenty of things to help animals cope with the cold.  Things like heated water dishes, heat lamps, pet-friendly de-icer and sweaters are on sale at CT Garvins Feed Store in Huntsville.

Also, there is cedar shavings and straw available to purchase to insulate a pet's house, if the pet must be left outside.

Although, in temperatures as low as what's been forecast, being outside in it for any length of time could lead to frostbite.

"Just as with people in extremely cold temperatures, it will be the extremities, the tips of the ears," said Hahs, referring to the areas where frostbite sets in.

Even though they have fur coats, they're no match for brutal wind, rain, sleet and snow.

The Alabama Veterinary Medical Association advises outdoor pets to be brought indoors if the temperature drops below 20 degrees.

And short-haired animals, babies, elderly and injured pets should come inside when it hits 40 degrees, due to cold-weather related threats.


  • preacher

    Proverbs 12:10, “A rightious Man/Woman regards the Life of their Beast (pet). But the tender mercies of the Wicked are Cruel.” Amen..

  • Justme

    Well, I have so called Christian neighbors that I bought a heat lamp for their dog, then brought over a blanket yesterday also. But, being it is going to fall to 15 degrees where we live on Monday night, then I will ask them if I can bring their dog into my home, even though I have 3 dogs (inside dogs) of my own. These nasty neighbors go to their church twice a week and twice on Sundays, but yet ignore and mistreat their dog. Even in summer I have to asked their kids to make sure the dog has water. Cruel people!!!

  • Cheryl P.

    We have a neighbor in our subdivision that has at least eight dogs in chain link pens in his back yard. The only “shelter” he provides them is a tarp over the pens. He says he breeds them. The breeds are German Shepherd, Pitbull and Rotwielers. They have no dog house to go into. They sleep on the ground. One neighbor did bring him hay to put on the ground, but I am sure they will all perish when the temperature falls to the predicted five degrees Monday night. I called Animal Control and they said since he has a tarp over them that is considered shelter in the county. We need to change some laws out here in the county for sure! If those dogs die he will not be held accountable because he gave them “shelter”. So sad for those poor dogs.

  • preacher

    If you see these Abuses happening, Please call law enforcement. They will check it out and notify Animal Control if necessary. As far as the so called “Christians” mentioned above, They are probably only “religious” and do not have a true “relationship” with Christ. Christianity Is Relationship, NOT religion. There is a difference. Amen..

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