Tips to Keep Pets Safe During Winter Weather - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Tips to Keep Pets Safe During Winter Weather

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Dover, DE-  As Delaware prepares for dangerously cold temperatures and the possibility of snow accumulations, the First State Animal Center- SPCA asks pet owners to keep their pets safe this winter.

According to SPCA officials, outdoor housing facilities for dogs should be structurally sound and safe for the animal, and the housing facility should fit the dog securely and restrict other animals from entering.

The facility, or dog house, should preserve body heat, and keep them dry during the snow. Additional bedding needs to be provided for the animal when the temperature falls below 35 degrees or less.

"Ideally, when the winter temperatures plummet to the 30s, 20s and teens, and with wind-chill temperatures being even less, the animal should be kept indoors," said Kevin Usilton, FSAC-SPCA's Executive Director. "However, we understand that is not always feasible, but it is imperative that the dog or cat owner make every effort to keep the animal safe, warm and dry. It is the humane thing to do, and it is the law.

Usilton said that dogs, such as shorthaired breeds, that are not acclimated to the frigid outdoor temperatures might not be kept in an outdoor facility unless a licensed veterinarian specifically approves the practice.

If a dog owner has to keep the dog outside during bad weather, the owner must check regularly the dog's water dish, to make sure the dog has access to fresh, thawed water, and additional bedding, which must be wood chips or straw, not blankets- the use of blankets is also against the law. "If the animal gets wet, so will the blanket, making the situation worse, possibly deadly-- for the animal," Usilton said. 

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