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How to keep your pets safe and warm this weekend

Pet owners need to remember a few tips to get their dogs safe and warm on nights when a hard freeze is expected.
Published: Jan. 21, 2022 at 6:24 PM CST
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BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - One may think dogs and cats can handle the cold better because of their fur, but if folks are cold when they go outside, so is the pet.

It’s why the Ascension Parish Sheriff’s Office had to step in to help four pit bulls.

“They had huge chains wrapped around their necks, they were not in proper shelter, and they were not being fed. All of the food bowls were empty. We just knew that we had to take action and quick action because we knew we were going into a heavy freeze,” explains Sheriff Bobby Webre.

RELATED: Dog owner arrested after reports of animal cruelty

Sheriff Webre says they do not tolerate animal cruelty, “If you abuse an animal in Ascension Parish, we are going to charge you with cruelty to animals. Yesterday, in that situation we charged a homeowner, the owner of the pets with cruelty to animals and he went to jail,” adds Webre.

That dog owner is Frank Bell Jr., 32.

Every parish has different ordinances on how they handle animal cruelty. Veterinaries say people don’t have to worry about breaking any rules if they treat their pet like they would treat any member of their family.

RELATED: How to keep your home safe during cold weather

“Just like us if our feet get too cold and frozen, you deal with those things like hypothermia. If the temperature drops slowly that does change how well the pet may metabolize things, their heart rate. All of those things can be affected more and more especially if they are younger and smaller pets,” explains Baton Rouge Veterinary Krista Miller.

Dr. Miller says it’s best to keep dogs inside, especially if they don’t have as much fur and if they are smaller breeds. If folks can’t bring their pet inside their home, Dr. Miller asks pet owners to try their best to give them some comfort and shield them from the wind.

“Maybe consider something like the garage, temperatures are not going to get as cold in the garage. If they have an outdoor dog house make sure it’s elevated off the ground, make sure it’s covered; place blankets, pillows, those things in there,” adds Miller

It’s also a good idea to bring the pet’s food and water inside so it won’t freeze overnight. Dr. Miller encourages pet owners who can’t bring their dog inside to ask a friend to dog-sit or find a temporary shelter willing to house their dog until temperatures get warmer.

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