Sub-zero temperatures unsafe for pets

If it's too cold for humans, it's too cold for pets

(Photo: Courtney Caligiuri/WPRI)

PAWTUCKET, R.I. (WPRI) — As folks around Rhode Island are braving below-zero temperatures, it is important to remember that pet care is crucial in cold weather.

Animal Control officials agree with the general rule given by the ASPCA – if it’s too cold for humans, it’s too cold for pets.

John Holmes, Animal Control Supervisor in Pawtucket, warns that in extreme temperatures, both hot and cold, residents need to use common sense.

“You’ve got to be very careful. Bring the animal in the house. Even if he’s in the basement of your house at least he’s out of the wind. He’ll be warm,” he said.

Stay Safe: Winter Weather Resource Guide >>
Stay Safe: Winter Weather Resource Guide >>

Holmes said that dogs in cold weather often face dehydration because their water bowls freeze. According to the ASPCA, cold weather can also be harmful to outdoor cats because they often seek shelter in the hoods of cars.

Holmes also mentioned that “cruelty to animal” charges could be filed if pets are left outside. “We find an animal in distress and if it rises to a cruelty to animals we will charge them and we will remove the animal for the safety of the animal,” said Holmes.

Debi Bonilla is a frequent visitor of the Pawtucket Dog Park, and she said that the approaching sub-zero temperatures have her worried.

“This is ice, a lot of snow and a lot of ice, it’s cold. The salt can be, you know, harsh on their paws,” she said. According to Bonilla, her dog Frankie enjoys the dog park in all weather, but she says that she does limit her outdoor time when temperatures are as cold as what is expected over the next few days.

In regards to the cold temperatures rolling in Wednesday and Thursday, Holmes said that if residents of Pawtucket lose heat or find themselves in an emergency, there are warming centers available across the city. As far as animals go, the Pawtucket Animal Shelter will also be open to pets in need of some heat.

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