Prep now to protect pets in the winter -, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Prep now to protect pets in the winter

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By LeiLani Golden - bio | email

THOMASVILLE, GA (WALB) –Thomas County Animal workers are reminding people about the dangers their pets face as temperatures cool off. Just like humans, animals can get seasonal flu and other viruses and can become uncomfortable in cold weather.

Animal advocates say now is the best time to prep your pets for the cold.

"Our temperatures change so fast. You could have 80-degree temperatures one day and 40-50 the next," say veterinarian Laura Hall.

Vets recommend vaccinating your dog against the newly emerging canine influenza.

"Especially dogs on plantations or in kennel environments because if one gets it, it can spread fast to the others," Dr. Hall explains.

Officials encourage bringing all pets indoors during winter, but if your animal must stay outside, make sure it has adequate shelter, warmth, and fresh water.

"Puppies and older dogs don't tolerate the cold as well and you and I," explains Walter Maseda of the Thomas County Humane Society. "So just take them out to do their business and bring them back in. With puppies, if they're house training you may have a difficult time. So you may want to paper train them for the time being."

Officials also warn people of the dangers their car can pose to animals in the winter. Cats are notorious for hiding under a car hood to stay warm.

"You might want to knock on the hood just to say hey, I'm about to crank up the car," Dr. Hall suggests. "And more people use antifreeze in the winter which has a sweet taste to dogs and cats. So be aware of that."

"We also say never leave an animal in a hot car during the summer," Maseda says. "The same applies in the winter because a car can act as a refrigerator."

And consider the affects grooming may have on an animal in the winter.

"If your pet's hair is matted, it may not insulate properly, so you should keep it groomed," Dr. Halls warns.

Maseda adds, "Don't shave them down to the skin. They won't have a way to stay warm."

And like people, animals enjoy being warm and cozy during the winter.

Veterinarians also remind people to keep their pets up to date on all vaccines and medications. They say pet nuisances and life-threatening diseases like fleas, worms, and parvo don't take the winter off.

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