South Abington Township, PA – A shelter Lackawanna County is urging pet owners to make sure their four-legged friends stay safe during these freezing weather.
Shelter pets, like Nala, are like house pets. They love the outdoors. But this time of year, those walks can become increasingly dangerous.
“They go through a lot of stress. They can eventually freeze. Hypothermia is a real thing,” said Megan Rinko, adoption coordinator. Griffin Pond Animal Sanctuary Near Clark Summit.
Animals shouldn’t spend too much time outdoors when temperatures drop below freezing, Rinko says.
“20 minutes in and out. And try to limit what their feet can handle.”
Rinko says that pets’ paw pads are the first to freeze. And for dogs with white or light fur, like Nala, their paws are even more sensitive to the cold.
“Paw pads can be very raw, very cold. This can cause joint problems. You can have bleeding on the paw pads.”
For pets that are outside, it’s important to make sure they have adequate shelter and access to food and water, Rinko says.
“No one wants to eat when it’s cold. When it’s all cold, there’s no water available, so there’s a real possibility of dehydration.”
With freezing temperatures, Rinko says abandoned animals are found in worse conditions. If a dog is experiencing hypothermia, don’t try to thaw it too quickly, she says.
“We don’t want to warm them up too quickly. We want to warm them up slowly so they don’t have a lot of health problems in the years to come.”
If you see an animal outside for too long, Rinko says to call a local humane officer for a welfare check on the animal.
Check out more pet and animal stories on WNEP’s YouTube playlist.