LUBBOCK, Texas – The strong arctic blast has taken a grip on the hub city, and it’s not letting up until this weekend.
The Lubbock Animal Shelter reminded pet owners to make sure their animals also have a warm place to go.
“If you’re outdoors and you feel uncomfortable, then your pets are uncomfortable also, so you both need to get in and warm up,” said Steven Greene, director of Animal Services for the City of Lubbock.
Many think dogs and cats are more resistant to the cold because of their fur, but Greene said that’s not true. Our furry friends are just as susceptible to frostbite and hypothermia as we are.
“They are not any more adapted to the weather than we are as humans,” Greene said. “They really need a sweater on when they go out or they need to be indoors with us.”
Greene said if you see your pet getting lethargic or slowing down during a walk, that’s a sign of hypothermia which can be deadly, so you should get them back home as soon as possible.
“When you do get back home, you also need to be sure to clean their feet and their paws, and their bellies,” Greene said. “They might have gotten into some of the ice or they might have gotten into some antifreeze, maybe salt that people put out on sidewalks, so you need to be sure you get all of those contaminants off of them where they’re not licking it and ingesting it.”
He said a space heater is not only dangerous to your pets but potentially to you too.
“That can really burn the animal skin, even just from them lying underneath it,” Greene said. “Even if you put a heating pad, that can be dangerous. It could short out, maybe shock your dog or catch something on fire.”
When temperatures drop, it’s common for animals to change locations when they sleep.
“If they change their sleeping behavior, sleeping patterns, sleeping areas, that’s not a sign of alarm,” Greene said. “That’s their own nature telling them where to go to regulate their body temperatures.”
Many animals look for a warm place to nap, so Greene said to look underneath your car or honk the horn to see if any pets climbed in your car’s engine to get a break from the harsh weather.
“You want to make sure you’re waking them up and getting their attention and getting them out of there before any damage is done to your vehicle or to them,” Greene said.
Greene recommends keeping your pets inside as much as possible during cold weather. When you must go out, he shared how to best warm them up.
“Get them under some blankets, let them warm up, maybe even rub their fur or pet them to get that blood circulating,” Greene said.
Greene said to make sure your animal has a proper shelter, because it’s against city ordinance and state law to leave your pets chained or tethered outside during rain, snow or when the temperature dips below 32°F.
The Lubbock Animal Shelter said it will have zero tolerance for tethering violations during this weather event.
LAS Field Operations will be working through the holidays and can be reached 24/7. For non-emergency calls, you can contact them at (806)-775-3357 or by email at LASfieldoperations@mylubbock.us.