Published on January 11, 2024

With some abnormally cold weather expected to impact Huntsville starting Sunday night, don’t overlook the needs of your pets to stay warm.

“A good rule of thumb is that if it’s too cold for us, it’s too cold for pets outside,’ said Dr. Melissa Horne, Animal Shelter and Medical Services Manager. “Pets need to come inside during weather at freezing temperatures. It’s also important for pet owners to remember that thin-body conditioned, geriatric, ill, or thin-coated dogs may not handle the temperatures as well.”

If bringing your pet indoors is not an option, Animal Services has some tips to help your pet deal with the cold weather outdoors. The National Weather Service says the wind chill can make temperatures feel as low as near zero on Monday and Tuesday.

Virgie Graham, Animal Services Chief, suggested adding straw, hay or woodchips to doghouses to help suppress the cold weather. Blankets could also be an option. Another option Graham mentioned is a warming lamp that would give off heat but nothing that would be flammable.

Graham said another strategy would be to bring pets inside for a few minutes to warm up before they go back outside. Dressing pets in coats or sweaters would also help alleviate some of the cold.

Even as precautions are taken to help pets stave off the cold, pet owners should still make a point of checking on them throughout the cold spell. Check for signs of frostbite or hypothermia or other signs of distress, Graham said.

“Monitor their health,” Graham said.

That includes providing pets with fresh water because water left outside during the cold spell will freeze. Using warm or hot water will only freeze faster. Be sure your pet gets fresh food as well.

The National Weather Service said the expected high temperature on Sunday will be in the mid-40s on Sunday, dropping into the mid-20s overnight. Lows will drop to about 15 degrees on Monday night with highs in the upper 20s on Tuesday. Temperatures will again drop to about 15 degrees on Tuesday night.

There is a chance of snow from Sunday night through Tuesday but the weather service said there is expected to be little to no accumulation.

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