Cold Can Kill Unprotected Pets, Vets Say

Published 12/04 2013 04:11PM

Updated 12/04 2013 06:15PM

By Alison Morris

LUBBOCK, TX- According to veterinarians, dogs and cats can get every sort of sickness from the cold that people can.

"Hypothermia is one of the big things, and frostbite," said Acres North Veterinarian, Ronda Clark. "Their extremities are just as susceptible as ours are. As far as ears- they have ear tips. Their pads can be very susceptible."

And, Clark said, the symptoms can be severe.

"If it's in their feet, they're going to come in and start to have signs of shock just like people do," said Clark. "They're going to be very disoriented, they're going to come in and they're going to be very weak. A lot of them, if they've been out a long time, they can't get up and walk."

If you notice any signs of sickness Clark said to be careful when warming them back up.

"The most important thing when you're dealing with a dog like that is you want to heat them up slowly. Throw a blanket in the dryer and get it good and warm. You don't want to do it too quickly."

Bigger dogs with thick coats fair better, but small dogs and cats should be taken inside.

"The less they weigh, the less time the exposure will take," said Clark. "You can figure per pound. A smaller dog or a cat is going to be susceptible a lot quicker than your bigger dogs."

Best policy, Clark said, is to make sure your animals have some sort of shelter.

"Bring them in. Even outside dogs. Make them a bed in the garage even if they're not house trained dogs, bring them into a covered garage. It doesn't even have to be a heated garage. Just get them out of the wind, out of the precipitation. Give them something to lay on on the concrete. They'll be fine."

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