Pet Owners Urged to Bring Animals Inside as Negative Temperature - Clarksburg, Morgantown: News, Sports, Weather

Pet Owners Urged to Bring Animals Inside as Negative Temperatures Continue

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Even after being outside for just a few minutes, it's painfully obvious that these bitterly cold temperatures can be deadly, not only for us, but for our furry friends as well.

If it's too for you to be outside, it's too cold for animals to be outside. That's what experts are telling area residents, stressing one crucial tip: bring your pets inside these next few days.

"Your animals with the heavier coats, your Arctic breeds, huskies, things like that, are going to be a lot better off. But small dogs, dogs with lower body mass, they're going to be in trouble," said Dr. Jennifer Canfield, a veterinarian at All Pets Animal Center in Nutter Fort.

Patz, also known as "Pork Chop," lives at the Humane Society of Harrison County with his litter mates and dozens of other shelter animals waiting for their forever homes. But luckily for Patz and his friends, "shelter" is the operative word, as those animals are kept warm inside during the extremely cold temperatures.

"You need to limit the amount of time that they are spending outside right now," said Amanda Gaarenstroom of the Humane Society of Harrison County.

On a normal winter's day, pet owner Shannon Jackson of Clarksburg knows how to keep her dog comfortable.

"We do have an outside dog, but we do have a heated dog house so that he can go in," said Jackson.

But on a day like Monday or Tuesday, with temperatures struggling to reach the single digits, even in the afternoon, experts say outdoor igloos and materials like straw just won't cut it.

"Not as much when it's -10 degrees. I mean, it's supposed to insulate, but it's just too cold," said Gaarenstroom.

So Jackson knows to plan accordingly.

"We have very nice neighbors who have dogs too, so they all sleep together in the house," said Jackson.

Pet owners can take certain precautions to prepare their furry friends for the cold.

"Don't shave your dog down all the way to the skin in the wintertime, and if they do have short fur, you can always put sweaters on them," said Emily Birmingham of the Humane Society of Harrison County.

But if the unthinkable does happen, Dr. Canfield advises residents to be on the lookout for signs of hypothermia and frostbite.

"They're going to be lethargic, sometimes unresponsive...the obviously can't tell from a distance, but they'll change color, they'll crinkle. If you can, at all possible, get them inside. Even in a garage, an out building, somewhere where they are out of the wind," said Canfield.