Keeping pets safe outdoors during cold snaps - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Keeping pets safe outdoors during cold snaps

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CHATTANOOGA, TN (WRCB) -

If you think the bitterly cold weather is for the dogs, you might be right. Regardless of the temperatures, our pets still have to get outside for a while.

Kristi Davis is a volunteer at the Humane Educational Society. She spent the day walking dogs while the wind chill hovered around zero. She can handle it if she comes prepared.

"Wearing a lot of layers. Those little hot pocket shakers are good to have in your pockets for when you need to warm up between walking dogs. Hat, gloves, whatever you need," says Davis.

However, bundling up can make handling the dogs difficult.

"It's challenging when you're wearing gloves to keep a good hold on the leash because they're a little slippery," adds Davis. "Runny nose is a hazard if you need to stop and blow your nose while you're also holding onto a leash."

Director Bob Citrullo says it's important for the dogs to get outside often. However, to make sure they don't become hypothermic or frostbitten you should limit each walk or play session to about fifteen minutes.

"Our ability is very limited to getting them outside," adds Citrullo. "So we have to focus on taking them on more walks. Short walks."

For small breeds which are more prone to the cold, dress them up in a sweater and paw booties.

Also, salt and ice on the sidewalks can be harmful. So check your pooch's paws when you go back indoors.

"Look at the fur between the pads. If there's any ice, make sure you remove that. This can become sharp and cause injury to the pads," says Citrullo.

Just wash with warm water and soap.

Most of the dogs at HES live indoors, but adjustments are made on days like these. Even the small dogs who would normally spend their days in outdoor kennels will stay in warm indoor kennels, protected from the cold.

The dogs' beds are raised off the concrete floors. The dogs also get extra blankets and some extra attention.

"The staff and volunteers will go through and pet them and play with them," says Citrullo.

Davis says she doesn't mind the cold because getting outside means a lot to the dogs.

"You get to be their favorite person of the day. This is the time they get to go out in the sunshine, even if it's cold," says Davis.

Citrullo says to remember the rule of thumb for knowing when it's time to go in: If you're feeling too cold, then it's too cold for your animals.

Citrullo says his staff has been receiving more calls recently to check on animals outdoors. HES can seize an animal if they can't locate an owner, or if an animal is in immediate danger. They can also cite an owner to court after repeat visits.

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