With the weather forecast calling for a potential winter storm starting Tuesday afternoon, Charleston Animal Society will be closing early at 2pm on Tuesday and all day Wednesday. The Charleston area is under a Winter Storm Watch with freezing temperatures, ice, sleet and snow expected from Tuesday morning through Wednesday morning.
Charleston Animal Society is also urging the public to take steps to protect their pets during this time of inclement weather.
“Because the Charleston area rarely experiences temperatures this low, it is natural that many local residents are not accustomed to planning for sub-freezing temperatures,” says Dr. Sarah Boyd, Charleston Animal Society’s Director of Shelter Health and Wellness. “However, it is very important to take some simple steps to protect pets from the bitter cold.”
With that in mind, Dr. Boyd provides the following measures that all pet owners should heed during the next couple of days:
Keep cats inside. Domestic cats are not equipped for cold weather and can freeze, or become lost, stolen, injured or killed when seeking protection from the cold.
Bang loudly on your hood before starting your car. Outdoor or homeless cats often seek the warmth of a car engine. When the motor is started, a cat huddled there can be injured or killed by the fan belt.
Never shave your dog during cold weather. Longer coats provide much needed warmth.
Consider a coat or sweater for short-haired dogs. This is especially important for smaller dogs.
Never leave pets alone in a car during cold weather. A car can trap cold in the winter, and potentially cause an animal to freeze to death.
Puppies and older dogs do not tolerate cold as well as younger adult dogs. During extreme cold consider taking them outside only for potty breaks.
Provide warm shelter for feral cats. This can be provided through a variety of resources found in most homes. Simply take some kind of container, such as a storage bin, cat or dog carrier or even a sturdy box and provide it with insulation. For insulation, you can line the container with a variety or combination of things such a blanket or a pillow, Styrofoam or hay.
Beware antifreeze! Antifreeze is a lethal poison for dogs and cats. Just a small amount of antifreeze can lead to kidney failure. It has a very sweet taste and animals will drink it. Never leave it laying around where a pet can get to it, and keep them out of garages and driveways where antifreeze may have leaked
Provide them a warm place to sleep. Ideally, this should be off the floor and away from all drafts. A cozy dog or cat bed with a warm blanket or pillow is perfect.
Older pets can benefit from a check-up. Cold weather can exacerbate some medical conditions such as arthritis. A visit with their vet can help assure your pet is ready and as healthy as possible for freezing temperatures.