Sullivan County

Animals at risk in cold weather

SULLIVAN COUNTY, Tenn. - It was another cold night Wednesday and you're not the only one who felt it.

Your pets are also at risk when temperatures drop and wind chill kicks up.

We have the facts on how to know when your pet is too cold and what you need to do to keep that from happening.

"They will get cold just like people will," said Michael Hahn, a veterinarian at the Airport Pet Emergency Clinic in Blountville, Tenn.

Hahn told News5 that even though most pets have fur coats, it's not enough to beat below-freezing temperatures.

"If we do get snow again and it melts, their fur will kind of soak that up and get damp," he said.

Dogs can also get snow and ice trapped in the pads of their paws, said Hahn.

Cats and dogs can get frostbite and hypothermia, according to the American Veterinarian Medical Association.

Animals with preexisting health problems or sickness are in more danger of getting it.

"It will effect them if they're sick already and then we get them in and their body temperature is extremely low," Hahn told us.

You can tell your pet is too cold if they are:

  • Moving slowly
  • Not eating food
  • Not responding when called to
  • Shivering

Hahn told us that in cold weather, animals become dehydrated easier.

"As the water temperature drops, they won't drink as much," he said. "It's a little bit too cold."

Hahn told us farm animals also have this problem.

"Unless they're near a creek or some flowing water, it's important to check all of the water troughs to make sure they're not frozen over," he said.

If you find that they are frozen, he suggests pouring warm water on top.

Hahn told News5 that household pets are at a higher risk in the cold because their bodies aren't acclimated to lower temperatures.

The best thing to do in cold weather is to bring animals inside, he said.

Animals that have to remain outside need warm, dry surface to sleep on, Hahn said.

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