Pets need extra care when arctic air hits, says Craig Allen, Poinsett County Extension staff chair for the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture.
“By the end of the week/early next week, arctic air will move into the region from the northwest. This will result in well below average temperatures,” the National Weather Service in Little Rock said Wednesday. “
Lows in Little Rock were expected to drop into the single digits by Monday night, with a forecast high of 27 degrees on Tuesday, the weather service said.
“Outdoor pets need a shelter that is well lined with dry straw, shavings, blanket strips or other insulating materials that trap warm air,” Allen said in a news release. “Check it often and change it whenever it gets wet.
“Make sure to have plenty of food and water available. Hot water bowls are handy to have,” Allen said.
Owners need to limit the amount of time indoor pets are exposed to extreme temperatures. Short-haired dog breeds such as greyhounds, dobermans, boxers, chihuahuas and smaller breeds “should not go outside without a sweater or coat, except for short periods of time,” Allen said.
Cats, even outdoor cats, will seek out warm places, and sometimes in dangerous ways.
“Cats left outside will often crawl into a warm car engine compartment to keep warm,” Allen said. “A cat could be seriously injured or killed by fan blades or fan belts the next time you start the car. Be sure to check for cats or other animals that may have discovered the heat of your car.”
Preparing vehicles for cold weather service may mean adding or replacing antifreeze. Pets may be drawn to spilled antifreeze because of its taste, but antifreeze with ethylene glycol is toxic to pets even in very small amounts.
“Clean up any spills immediately,” Allen said.
To learn about Extension programs in Arkansas, contact a local Cooperative Extension Service agent or visit www.uaex.uada.edu.