Thomasville Times Enterprise

December 11, 2013

Animal Control offers winter pet tips

Staff report

THOMASVILLE — Rainy days and cold weather bring on many complaints for the Thomasville-Thomas County Humane Society Animal Control Division, said Pat Smith, Animal Control director. There are so many animals left out in the rain and cold without any shelter or inadequate shelter.

Animal control officials urge everyone to protect their outdoor pets and prevent needless suffering. Shelters should be just big enough for the dog to stand, turn around and lay in comfortably. It should be slightly elevated from the ground for air circulation and to keep the rain waters out. The door should be faced away from the winds and rain and have a protective flap to eliminate drafts.

Smaller shelters allow body heat to keep tpets warm. Smith stated that many people keep their dogs in their garages. This is better than nothing, but your pets can’t warm the garage with their body heat to keep them from freezing. Heat lamps are a good tool to use when you have a large area for your pets.

She added that clean dry grass straw or pine straw should be used instead of blankets, towels or rugs, which absorb moisture and freeze in frigid temperatures. Just because they wear fur coats doesn’t mean dogs and cats don’t get cold.

Outside dogs use more calories to keep warm in the winter, so give your dog additional food.

Young puppies should not be left outside when it’s very cold. They can’t make themselves warm like older dogs can. Keep your puppies safe and cozy inside a heated building.

There are easy ways to identify whether your dog is too cold. If it’s shivering, curling into a tight ball, it’s cold.

Neighbors shouldn’t fear reporting if they notice signs of pet cruelty or neglect. Cases should be reported to the local animal control divisions or law enforcement agencies before it’s too late.

If you know of a dog in need of a shelter, or if you have a dog shelter you would like to donate, contact Smith at 229-228-0613.