Nebraska heads back into the deep freeze. Wind chill factors are expected well below zero. Nebraska Humane Society spokesperson Pam Wiese sends a reminder to pet owners to keep close tabs on animals when it is this cold. This is not the time to leave your indoor pets outdoors for long periods of time.
Wiese says, “Set your timer for five minutes and check on them if you are letting them out. Any longer than that for dogs that are used to being inside their feet can get cold. They can get ice between the little pads on their feet. If you leave them out for longer periods of time frostbite and frost nip can set in.”
Those with Nordic outdoor dogs like Malamute, Samoyed or Husky still need to have some type of shelter available. A dog house needs to be the proper size for the pet. Wiese says if they are too large it won’t hold in body heat. If it is too small body parts will stick out and there is a risk of frost bite. It should be large enough for them to walk in, turn around and lie down. Bedding should shed water so when the ice and snow melts it doesn’t leave a brick of cold below them. Make sure the doghouse has a flap to keep the wind out and the pet has plenty of food and fresh water available.
Those who live on farms and have outside cats or live in neighborhoods with a lot of strays should remember the “whack the hood” rule. Wiese says, “Neighborhood cats and free-roaming cats will often times climb up into the engine of a car or truck because it is warm and out of the wind. That may be a place they perch throughout the evening and fall asleep in there. In the morning you want to make sure to wake them up and scare them away before you start your car because they can get caught in the fan belt and it can cause traumatic injuries like amputations, tail amputations, that kind of thing.” That can also save you an expensive car repair.
You can also be a Good Samaritan to outdoor animals by making a few shelter boxes. Wiese says an old Styrofoam cooler works very well. Cut a hole in the cooler or box. Put an old blanket inside and weigh it down so it doesn’t blow away. That provides enough shelter for an animal that doesn’t have a home base.