Local News

Arctic blast tough on pets

Posted January 19

SPCA Wake spokeswoman Darci VanderSlik plays with Lucky, a four-month old pup, on a bitterly cold morning.
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— Animal welfare experts are urging pet owners to help their pets stay warm – and keep them indoors – as arctic air brings temperatures in the teens back to the Triangle Tuesday night.

SPCA of Wake County spokeswoman Darci VanderSlik says that, during the day, jackets and sweatshirts can help cut the bitter wind for dogs with thin or fine coats or exposed skin. But at night, dogs and cats and other animals need to be under shelter when temperatures drop so quickly.

"Pets down here [in the South] don't have time to acclimate to the cold weather," she said. "Last week, it was 70 degrees. They don't have the hair and the coats that they need to, like they would up north."

Bringing an outdoor pet inside at night can be a matter of life or death when it's this cold – even if it's just into a garage or mud room or laundry room, she said.

"It doesn't need to be snuggled up in bed with you," she said. "It just makes such a difference."

For animals that can't be brought inside, such as feral cats, a windproof shelter stuffed to capacity with hay or straw can help by holding the animal's warmth inside.

"They will go in there and burrow in and make a nest," VanderSlik explained.

One more very important consideration is water.

"By law, pets have to access to clean, fresh drinking water," she said. "Licking ice is not an acceptable substitute."

That means owners of outside animals need to keep a close eye on water bowls whenever temperatures drop below 32 degrees and replace the ice with fresh water as needed.

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  • Vera McGraw Jan 19, 2016
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    Sad that I cannot do more to save both animals and people from dying due to exposure from < 32F temps......makes me feels fortunate to have a home and a safe place for my cat. But it still upsets me.