Bring in your pets from the bitter cold

By Fred Childers – bio|email

SHREVEPORT, LA (KSLA) – When the temperatures plunge this weekend into the 20's the safest place for your pets, is inside with you.

Dogs and cats are varied, so their ability to handle extreme weather is also varied.

Petzone employees say consider how comfortable you are outside when trying to decide if your pets should come in.

"Just pretty much when I feel uncomfortable, and I know I don't want to be outside I'll go ahead and bring them in," said Kimberly Seegers with Petzone.

A popular misconception is that the fur coats on your dogs will help them withstand bitter cold.

However, it's not unusual for a dog to get frostbite on the tips of their ears, tails, face footpads, and legs.

Hypothermia is also a danger.

Warning signs to look out for in your pet: Slow pulse, or slow breathing, a mental status from somewhat responsive to unconsciousness, cold skin, or a low body temperature.

"I know that there's a lot of situations out there where people can't bring their animals in, I would do everything possible to just give them some type of closure, and put some type of bedding in there also," said Seegers.

That bedding can include anything from cedar chips, to a self heated bed, or a bed heated electrically.

Whatever you decide, make sure you don't leave them outside with no shelter above them or around them.

If you must leave your dogs outside, be sure to face their doghouse to the south, as the wind will be coming out of the north.

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