Preparing pets for the coldest weather

INDIANAPOLIS – The coldest weekend of the season is upon us as temperatures plunge into the single digits.

“It’s not a good feeling to have the cold and everything like that,” said Bylinda Lowry, an Indianapolis resident.


Lowery is one of many Indianapolis residents getting ready for the first winter weekend in the city.

“That’s why you see me at the grocery store now,” she said. “Because I want to bunker down with this time. It would be too cold to go out with snow and things of that nature. Safety first!”

The doctors at Eskenazi Health agree that the best thing you can do when you’re cold is to significantly limit your time when the wind chill turns negative.

“The lower the wind chill, the faster you’ll catch a cold,” said Dr. Tyler Stepsis, chief of emergency medicine at Eskenazi Health. “Usually it’s in areas where there’s less blood flow, so you’re looking at the hands and fingers, the toes and feet, the ears, especially the tips of the ears and the tip of the nose, that kind of thing. lets think.”

Some of the best things to remember to avoid this are to always dress in layers and make sure your entire body is covered so your skin doesn’t get exposed to the bitter cold. It’s also important to stay dry, as wet skin can lead to frostbite sooner.

“Initially, your skin will have a red, warm, tingling sensation and then the skin will go numb,” Dr. Stepsis said. “Then you’ll start to see things like numbness, loss of finger movement, and depending on where we start to see it, sometimes you can start to see blisters, and that The blisters can actually turn into what we call a hemorrhage. There’s a lot of blood behind it and eventually she starts to die early.”

For children who play primarily outside, make sure they are properly dressed and limit their time in the cold.

“Invite your kids over for hot chocolate or whatever you want to do, try to warm them up,” Dr. Stepsis said. “I don’t know many kids who wouldn’t say no to hot chocolate.”

As you’re keeping an eye on the little ones, make sure your older friends and neighbors are prepared too.

“It’s much easier for older people to catch a cold,” Dr. Stepsis said. “As we get older, the blood vessels become less reactive and the arteries start to stiffen a little bit, that kind of thing, and for our elderly neighbors and friends, narrowing the blood vessels and keeping warm blood closer to the core. It becomes difficult. Their mass to keep themselves warm. That’s one of the things that makes sure if they have a heater, make sure it works. Make sure they have enough blankets and supplies.”

And as the temperature continues to drop, it’s important to keep an eye on your pets too!

“The message we’re trying to get out to the public is please bring your dog inside,” said Darcy Kurtz, executive director of FIDO – Friends of Indianapolis Dogs Outside. “It’s a legal requirement, and they can’t get away with it if they’re out in these extreme temperatures day and night.”

In Indianapolis, an ordinance protects dogs in extreme weather when temperatures drop to 20 degrees or below. The law requires that they be brought inside a temperature-controlled building between 40 and 80 degrees.

The most important thing is to limit the time your furry friend is outside. Keep their walks short and backyard time to a minimum, especially at night. When you’re outside with your pet, there are some signs to watch for if he’s getting too cold. These include tremors, muscle stiffness, and difficulty walking. For example, if you notice your dog lifting its paws a lot, this could be a sign that your dog is becoming hypothermic.

“The worst-case scenario is that the dog doesn’t make it through that cold weather, and we’ve seen that in past winters where dogs have died from hypothermia in extreme weather,” Kurtz said. “That’s why we’re trying to get the word out.”

FIDO and Indianapolis Animal Care Service team members will continue to monitor the weather for the next week, searching for and helping stranded animals.

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