With daily low temperatures in the teens forecasted for the rest of the week, a local animal shelter is reminding people that winter weather is a threat not only to people, but to their pets too.
Heritage Humane Society says with the combination of freezing temperatures and substantial snowfall can be deadly for pets left outdoors, according to a press release.
“A good rule of thumb is that if it is too cold for you outside or cold enough to be uncomfortable without a winter coat, then it is too cold for your pet – even outdoor pets,” said Darci VanderSlik, Heritage Humane Society Communications Manager.
VanderSlik added that the climate conditions in Virginia can mean winter weather is even more dangerous to pets than in other regions. Because the weather is not normally cold, area pets might not grow a winter coat as thick as they might elsewhere— and a dramatic drop in temperature can be a shock to them if left outdoors.
Heritage recommends pet owners bring in their pets before snow begins falling, and only allow the pets outside for a short time to relieve themselves.
If bringing them inside is not an option, add straw or wool to their shelter to help insulate them from the cold. Do not use cotton, as this retains moisture which may then freeze.
Make sure to replenish their water every few hours, as water will freeze and they will be left without anything to drink.