By NewsChannel5.com. CREATED Jan 6, 2014
As temperatures outside continue to drop, veterinarians strongly caution pet owners about the harmful effects of cold weather.
Dr. Noel Lucas with Blue Oasis Pet Hospital in Mt. Juliet, Tenn., said dogs and cats need to be brought indoors when the temperature dips below freezing.
"If it's freezing and it's down into the freezing temperatures, then that's when dog and cats are going to be exposed to hypothermia," Dr. Lucas told Nashville's NewsChannel5.
With temperatures in the single digits across the country, veterinary clinics like Blue Oasis are expecting to treat animals suffering from hypothermia.
"Usually we'll put an IV catheter in and start warm IV fluids," Dr. Lucas said. "We'll get blankets out to get warm. We'll put them in the dryer, start warming blankets up in the dryer."
There other considerations to think about if you have a pet outside in the cold.
"Their water bowls freeze, and if you only check them once a day they're frozen overnight and you've got to dump them and refresh them," she said.
She said most of it is pretty much common sense, but here's another thing to consider. If you live in an urban area and you walk your dog, check their paws before you go inside. Dr. Lucas said the salt and brine put down to melt ice on sidewalks and roads can also hurt your pets.
"The ice is melted so there is water around it. and then they'll get the salt and de-icing in their hair and they'll come in and it will be matted and it's irritating and causes like a dermatitis on their feet," she said.
Pets are considered private property, so you can't force an owner to take the animal out of the cold. You can call animal control, but Dr. Lucas said the best option might be to just be polite and remind the owner their pet might be in danger.