Pet owners reminded to guard against cold

RELATED: Historic freeze could break Midwest records

Staff report

While our four-legged family members come with ready-made winter coats, it’s not enough to protect them when the temperatures dip to the frigid lows forecast over the next few days.

“If it’s cold for you, it’s cold for them,” said Diane Less, co-founder of Angels for Animals, an animal shelter and adoption center in Beaver Township.

Bringing pets indoors during cold weather provides the best protection.

If that isn’t an option, an insulated shelter with hay or straw for bedding can help shield pets from the cold.

A doghouse with just plastic covering the door will keep the wind and snow off the animal, but it won’t guard against the cold.

To provide that insulation, Less says furniture pads wrapped around the doghouse and then wrapped with a tarp can offer that extra layer of warmth.

The shelter for the pet should be small to enable the animal to retain its body heat inside, she said.

“What’s great for cats is those disposable Styrofoam coolers like Omaha Steaks come in,” Less said.

Hay or straw should be used for bedding, not a blanket.

“If it gets wet, water goes through the hay or straw,” she said. “A blanket freezes and just becomes a block of ice.”

A dog or cat also can burrow into straw for warmth, Less said.

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