Local vet warns pets must be kept warm as temperatures drop - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Local vet warns pets must be kept warm as temperatures drop

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As the cold snap continues in the Tennessee Valley, local Veterinarian Dr. Jim Hammond offers some cold weather tips to pet owners.

The Northgate Animal Hospital vet said all pets should be kept inside when the temperatures drop below 20 degrees. Puppies, kittens and short haired pets should be inside when it dips below 40, he said.

"I love garages and basements because they always stay above freezing and a lot of times they're warm from the warmth of the house," Dr. Hammond said.

Trying to keep your pets safe and warm in these bitter cold temperatures can be dangerous.

Wednesday, a light bulb sparked a fire in Highland Park. The homeowner used the heat source to keep his dogs warm in the barn. The shelter was destroyed in the afternoon fire.

"The dogs come bouncing into the building and some of those guys can be like whiplash with their tails but they can knock those things over and the next thing you know, you can have a fire that's out of control," he said.

Tips from Dr. Hammond and the Veterinary News Network:

  1. Keep pets indoors when temps drop below 20.
  2. Keep puppies, kittens, and short haired pets inside when temps drop below 40.
  3. Proper grooming is important to help pets maintain a layer of warming air within their coat.
  4. If the pet absolutely cannot come inside, provide a proper shelter outdoors. A good doghouse, for example, will have three sides, be off the ground and have straw or hay.
  5. A shelter just big enough for your pet will stay warmer longer than something that is too big.
  6. Make sure their water bowls don't freeze.
  7. Keep antifreeze away from pets. Dr. Hammond said it's a common issue he sees every winter in Chattanooga. Pets are attracted to its sweet taste but it can cause kidney failure.
  8. Cats enjoy warming up beneath car hoods and by the warm engine. Honk your horn before cranking up the car.
  9. Pets can get carbon monoxide poisoning or hypothermia if left alone in cars.
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