How cold is too cold for your pets to be outside?

FILE PHOTO: A pet owner in Houston has been charged after officials said eight dogs were left outside in freezing temperatures.

MIAMI VALLEY — The way you care for your pets should drastically change during colder weather, particularly during brutal conditions and snow accumulation.

The Humane Society of Greater Dayton said owners should be feeding their pets more food during colder months because they require more energy to keep warm.

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The humane society also advises that after snowfall, protect your pets’ paws from painful salt crystals and other ice-melting elements. One way is to put booties on your pets or rub petroleum jelly into the pads of their paws before they go out. Also remember to wipe off your pets’ paws when they come in from being outside, as salt and other chemicals can irritate their pads and their mouth if they lick their paws.

As a general rule, animal welfare agencies recommend that if it is too cold for you to be outside then it is too cold for your pets.

According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, you should keep your cats and dogs inside when the temperature falls below 32 degrees Fahrenheit to keep them safe from frostbite and hypothermia. This includes long-haired breeds like huskies.

It is dangerous for your animals to be outdoors during the winter, but if they must they need proper shelter to protect them from the cold. A shelter that is dry, draft-free and large enough for your animal to turn around in is the minimum a pet requires to stay safe in the cold. Also, the water in their water dish must not be allowed to freeze.

Keeping up on your pets grooming is another way to help your animals stay healthy in the cold. Pets with longer coats tend to have issues with salt crystals, snow balls or even de-icing chemicals clinging to their fur. You also want to limit the number of baths you give during the winter months in order to keep your pets’ skin healthy. Washing too often can remove the essential oils your pets need to keep their skin healthy.

Finally try to secure any antifreeze so it is not easily assessed by your pets. Antifreeze is a deadly poison, but has a sweet taste that can attract animals. If you spill antifreeze while using it, it is imperative to clean it up before a pet can lick the liquid.

If you have any more questions about winter pet care you can call the Humane Society of Greater Dayton at 937-268-7387. If you would like to report animal abuse or neglect in your neighborhood you can call (855)-PETS-911.

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