Keep Pets Inside When Temperatures Plunge

By Brady Smith, Anchor/Reporter

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By Brady Smith

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa - This time of year, calls to Cedar Rapids Animal Care and Control tend to rise. They come from people worried about the safety of pets left out in the cold in their neighborhood.

"Our calls about concerns for pets left outdoors actually started a couple weeks ago with the nasty, cold rain we got, and they kept trickling in as last weekend we got the snow, and now they're starting to increase," Diane Webber, Cedar Rapids Animal Care and Control program manager, said.

Webber said animal control officers will be keeping an eye out for pets left out in the cold without the appropriate shelter. Even if it's just a dog house, it needs to be a place where the dog can warm up.

"It needs to have a flap over the front, it needs to face away from the direction of the wind, it needs to have some straw bedding, anything to help maintain that dog's body heat," Webber said.

And remember, winter wear isn't just for humans. Tina Holub, owner of Groomingdale's, said canine coats and protective shoes are growing in popularity. Holub showed us her dog Chloe, who wears a coat most of the time, but she said even if your dog does have a coat, it shouldn't spend a lot of time outside, especially when it gets this cold out.

"If you go out with your dog, as soon you get really cold and feel you need to go in, so does your dog," Holub told us.

She and Webber said coats are an especially good idea for smaller dog breeds, because they usually don't have as much body fat to keep them warm. The same goes for cats.

"We have a lot of cats that come into our care that already have frostbitten eartips," Webber explained. "They have less body fat, and there are so many of them that are left outdoors."

Webber said cats often climb up underneath vehicles, seeking any remnants of heat near the engine. She said it's a good idea to pound on your hood a few times or open it up to check and make sure no strays are taking refuge there.

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