There’s no doubt that winter is upon us. Yesterday I heard Jack Frost changed his name to Jack Froze. All kidding aside, this is the time of year to remember that leaving pets outside for long periods of time is dangerous. The idea that dogs and cats can safely remain outside in freezing temperatures is a myth. The American Veterinary Medical Association has some good tips about what you should provide for pets that must be left outdoors for extended periods of time. An excerpt is below and more can be learned at www.avma.org.
Provide shelter: We don’t recommend keeping any pet outside for long periods of time, but if you are unable to keep your dog inside during cold weather, provide him/her with a warm, solid shelter against wind. Make sure that they have unlimited access to fresh, non-frozen water (by changing the water frequently or using a pet-safe, heated water bowl). The floor of the shelter should be off of the ground (to minimize heat loss into the ground) and the bedding should be thick, dry and changed regularly to provide a warm, dry environment. The door to the shelter should be positioned away from prevailing winds. Space heaters and heat lamps should be avoided because of the risk of burns or fire. Heated pet mats should also be used with caution because they are still capable of causing burns.
Leaving your pet outside during the cold weather months for extended periods is not just a bad idea, it’s cruel! Anyone who suspects that a pet is at risk due to freezing conditions can call call the Auburn Hills Police Department’s non-emergency dispatch number at (248) 370-9444.
Thomas Tanghe, City Manager