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People Are Being Warned To 'Bring Dogs Inside' After Reports Of Dogs Freezing

ryan.ford 31 Jan 2019

It doesn't take much winter for everyone to decide they've had enough, thank you very much. For me, the best part of a ski vacation would be warming up in the chalet with a hot drink. And that's on a normal winter day!

When winter gets really serious, as it has been lately, hibernation sounds better and better. But unfortunately, not all of us have that cozy option. And pets in particular often have it rough.

It is crazy cold in North America right now, with temperatures so cold it doesn't matter whether they're measured in Fahrenheit or Celsius.

Yes, the polar vortex is back, settling in for an extended stay over huge swaths of the continent.

And although folks are getting some incredible scenes of the effects of mind and body-numbing cold, it's important to remember that this kind of weather isn't just weird - it's dangerous.

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And it's especially true for pets, because they typically don't get to choose for themselves whether they get exposed to the cold or not.

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Although dogs come equipped with fur coats, they're typically not meant to withstand the crushing cold of a polar vortex.

As the saying goes, if it's too cold for you, it's too cold for them. And yes, it's too cold for us.

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We're being reminded of that after many reports of dogs being found frozen after they were left outside.

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It's tragic, and it's preventable. In Michigan, the Detroit Pit Crew Dog Rescue found a beagle called Olaf with its hind legs and paws "completely frozen."

The rescue has managed to raise funds for the poor dog's care, but of course Olaf is only one of countless dogs suffering through the cold.

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And so experts are passing along a few cold weather tips to keep our pets safe, the most obvious being to not leave them alone outside.

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As Iowa City's animal services coordinator, Chris Whitmore, told USA Today, with this kind of weather, breed doesn't matter. "Some people think, 'Well, he's a husky, I can leave him out while I'm at work.' They don't want to be out there. He might enjoy it when you're there to watch him, but when it's this cold, we always tell people, 'Don't leave your pet outside. It's just not safe.'"

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Even for bathroom breaks, you want to keep it short and simple.

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Don't linger; let them do their business and then bring them right back inside where it's warm. And if your pooch is a breed with shorter hair and they need to walk for more than a couple of minutes, bundle them up.

Doggy coats are more than just fashionable. If they'll tolerate booties, put them on too. They'll protect against the nasty salt on the streets as well as the cold.

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When you're out with them, watch for signs that the cold is getting to them.

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Much like humans, dogs will shiver and whine when the cold is too much to handle. Also, when their paws get too cold, they'll bite and lick at their feet excessively trying to warm them up.

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If you see a dog chained up outside in this weather, don't hesitate to get help.

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"If you see an animal outside in this weather and there are no signs of their owner or they are chained outside without access to a proper shelter, call your local law enforcement immediately," says Oshkosh Area Humane Society's executive director, Joni Geiger. "It becomes a matter of life and death."

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And, if you have to travel with your pet, don't leave them alone in a frosty car.

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According to the Chicago branch of PAWS, a car can become a "freezer-like environment" in this weather when the heater isn't on. They caution against leaving pets alone in a car that's not running, even for short spells.

h/t USA Today

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