JACKSON COUNTY (WSIL) — With cooler weather working its way into our region, experts say it’s a good time to start planning on how you will make sure your pets stay warm.
"I think the most important thing when we start getting cold temperatures: bring your pets inside," said St. Francis CARE’s Executive Director and Veterinarian Kay Creese. Their facility has, on average, 150 dogs and cats waiting for adoption.
Dr. Creese says, "So it does get challenging keeping them warm in the winter and cool in the summer." She also said that pets that remain outside when temperatures drop not only need shelter, they need extra food and water, and dry bedding.
Lakeside Veterinary Hospital in Carbondale is the only 24-hour emergency care facility in all of southern Illinois.
Veterinarian, Dr. Jason Verbeck says it’s not uncommon for them to treat pets exposed to extreme temperatures, "Dogs and cats can get frostbite just like people can."
He adds, as temperatures drop it’s important to pay attention to your pet’s behavior, "It’s important that you’re in tune with what your pet does day to day, because they don’t want to tell you that they’re sick, they’re not going to tell you until it becomes a big problem, at least what we see here. So if they’re shivering, they have that distressed look, that’s probably a big of an indicator as anything — if they’re panting, and seem distressed, it’s better to have them checked then not."
While different breeds react to temperatures differently, both veterinarians agree that it’s better to take precautions when it’s cold and bring your pets inside.
"If it’s possible, if it’s below zero to just bring them in," said Verbeck.
Dr. Creese agrees, "Just bring them in, you’ve got a utility room, or a bathroom, or something that if you need to confine them; just for overnight."
Once temperatures do drop and snow and ice stick around, vets recommend using pet-friendly ice-melts and also keep watch on your pet’s paws when taking them for walks.