Pets At Risk of Frostbite, Hypothermia - ABC5 News Des Moines, IA

Pets At Risk of Frostbite, Hypothermia

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Addie Olson

aolson@myabc5.com

@addieolson

Veterinarians say it's a simple concept: If it's too cold for you to be outside it's probably too cold for your animals.

"The next couple of days it's going to be too cold for most pets to be outside for any period of time," said Dr. Sue Shivers of Creature Comforts Pet Hospital in Ankeny. 

Pet owners bring their four–legged friends to Creature Comforts seven days a week.

Dr. Shivers responds to both emergencies and general check–ups. With the wind chill plummeting, she prepares for any cold weather calls.

"We've had some frostbite injuries, especially on their pads," Dr. Shivers said. "Probably the biggest one is cats will climb up in a warm engine because they're trying to get out of the cold."

Food, fresh water and shelter are key to keeping any outdoor animals warm.

"You want to get them out of the elements somehow, you want to have some sort of well-insulated structure to get them out of the wind," said Dr. Shivers.

Animals can get frostbite and hypothermia just like humans, but there's no rule of thumb on exactly how cold is too cold.

"I would say the little dogs, the dogs that are less than 30 or 40 pounds probably aren't going to handle this very well," Dr. Shivers said.

She said when it comes to the cold, your best bet for your pets is common sense.

"If it's not tolerable for you to be outside, you need to seriously consider if it's tolerable for the pet to be outside," Dr. Shivers said.

If you think your dog or cat may be in danger of frostbite or hypothermia, it's important to get them to a vet right away.

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