Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

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Opinion

December 26, 2012

3-dog nights imperil dogs

The issue: Care of outdoor pets.

Our view: In weather such as this, keep dogs and cats inside. Low temperatures, winds and snow can lead to illness and death.

It could’ve been a concerned citizen. It could’ve been someone looking for a laugh. Little information was available concerning a would-be animal rescue in the tiny town of Center nearly five years ago.

Emergency officials were dispatched just before 4 p.m. Feb. 6, 2008, to an area across from Taylor Intermediate School. The caller said a dog chained to a tree with water up to its neck was in need of rescue. Upon arrival, responders found the concrete bulldog statue wasn’t too upset with its situation.

The “rescue” that day made for an amusing photo. But there’s nothing funny about pets left outside during cold, snowy days like those we’ve experienced this week.

If you know a family who keeps their pet outdoors, persuade them to bring it inside. Low temperatures, winds and snow can lead to illness and death.

This warning is for both dogs and cats. Felines that spend time outside can freeze.

Here are some tips to protect dogs in cold weather we gleaned from the Partnership for Animal Welfare:

• Coats and booties can help your dog stay warm while outside. In particular, short-haired or older dogs benefit from wearing a coat or sweater.

• Sick or older dogs are sensitive to cold weather. Take them outside only for “bathroom breaks.”

• Clip the fur between toe pads to reduce the amount of snow that collects between toes.

• Coat sensitive paws with a little cooking spray before walks in cold weather.

• Use fatty acid supplements during the winter to help skin and coat.

• Do not let dogs off their leash in snow or ice. Canines can panic in snowstorms and run away. More dogs are reported lost in winter than any other season.

Remember, on days preceding and following three-dog nights, we need to take special care of our dogs.

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