• 52°

Pets don’t like this weather either

LaGRANGE – It is dog-gone cold out there today, and pets are feeling the below freezing temperatures just as bad as people.

Local pet organizations are encouraging pet owners to bring even pets who normally stay outside in during the storm to keep them safe from the elements and the cold.

“If you aren’t going to be out in the cold, don’t leave them out in the cold,” said Linda Couto, manager of the LaGrange-Troup County Humane Society. “… If it is too cold for you it is too cold for them.”

Couto encourages residents to make sure that pets have plenty of food to keep their energy up during the cold weather, and to keep animals inside as much as possible. Dogs are generally happiest when taken out for frequent walks, but kept inside the rest of the time. If left outdoors during freezing temperatures, pets can freeze, become disoriented, injured or killed.

The marshal’s office also encourages owners to keep pets indoors and take extra precautions for pets if they cannot be kept inside for whatever reason.

“It helps if people bring their dogs inside,” said Deputy Marshall Lisa Lindsey. “But if they can’t, heating lamps and extra bedding is good (for animals).”

It is also recommended that owners whose pets will be outside for any length of time make sure that pets have a warm, dry place that is big enough for them to move around in comfortably but small enough to hold body heat so that they can stay out of the wind and precipitation. According to the U.S. Humane Society, the floor of the shelter should be raised a few inches from the ground and covered with cedar shavings or straw. The doorway should be covered with waterproof burlap or heavy plastic.

“If they have to stay outside make sure that they have a house,” said City of LaGrange Animal Shelter Director Chris Bussey, who also supports bringing pets indoors as the best option.

The shelter is partnering with the Troup County Homeless Coalition during the storm to provide a safe warm place for pets who might not be allowed in some shelters designed for people. All pets staying at the shelter through the storm will receive a checkup and rabies shots from Dr. Amanda Greathouse of the Troup County Animal Hospital.

Pet owners are also reminded that chemicals used to remove ice from sidewalks and roads are toxic to pets, so if you take your dog out for a walk on a treated road, make sure to wipe down their paws afterwards to prevent them from becoming sick from licking the chemical off their paws.

The U.S. Humane Society encourages people to politely express their concerns over any pets left out in the cold to their owners, and if that doesn’t help, Bussey encourages residents to report any animals left out in the elements without shelter to the animal shelter at 706-298-3606 or to report by calling 911.

Reach Alicia B. Hill at alicia.hill@lagrangenews.com or at 706-884-7311, Ext. 2154.