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Pet Care Reminders During Near Freezing Weather: 'Don't Be Fooled By Your Pet's Fur Coat'

DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) -  As temperatures hover near freezing and North Texas faces winter weather advisories, it is critical that pet owners prioritize their safety.

The City of Dallas requires that all pets have access to an adequate warm, dry shelter once the actual or effective temperature reaches 32 degrees.

"The law requires that pets have adequate shelter, but what is adequate during our typical 50-degree winter days is not adequate during the freezing weather we are facing now," says Ed Jamison, Director of Dallas Animal Services. "The safest option is to bring your pets indoors."

Archie the beagle
Archie the beagle dons his Longhorn sweater in the cold weather (courtesy: Mark Schnyder)

If you see a pet that you believe is in distress or is left outdoors in temperatures 32 degrees or below without shelter, please call 3-1-1 to make a report to the Dallas Animal Services.

Given the significant volume of calls received during inclement weather, DAS asks residents to use their best judgment to determine if the animal is in distress and whether the owner is in violation of the law prior to calling. This allows our Animal Services Officers to prioritize calls and focus on animals at high risk.

All pets are at risk during this weather, regardless of size or breed.

"Don't be fooled by your pet's fur coat," continues Jamison, "even winter breeds with thick coats are at risk when temperatures reach freezing, particularly here in Texas where pets are not used to this type of weather."

Shelter isn't the only important consideration during cold spells. To keep your pets healthy and happy during winter, the ASPCA recommends:

Towel dry your pet as soon as you come inside on cold, wet days to keep pets comfortable and avoid skin issues.

Avoid shaving your pet's fur short in winter months as this decreases their ability to stay warm.

Keep walks short during wet or icy days and consider massaging petroleum jelly into their paws before leaving the house to provide extra protection. Booties are another great option!

Pavement and cement are very cold in the winter, so walking on grass may be a more comfortable option.

Remember that antifreeze and many chemicals used to melt ice are toxic to pets and should be avoided when possible or kept out of reach.

Never leave a pet in a car during cold spells; cars can act as refrigerators and can cause pets to freeze to death or experience hypothermia.

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