Watch for frostbite in pets during cold winter weather

Ice crystals form on a car windshield to greet a bitter cold early morning rush. (Photo by Kevin Hoffman, 21st Century Media)

While most of the United States has been thinking about the polar vortex and record-breaking temperatures throughout the weekend, the dangerous weather conditions will continue though Wednesday and into Thursday.

Some area school districts cancelled classes while others delayed the start of the school day by two hours in order to keep students safe.

For pet owners, it is important to pay attention to the furry family members as well.

Advertisement

Carmen Ronio, the Executive Director of the Montgomery County SPCA, said pet owners need to watch for frostbite on their pets.

Dogs should only be outside for 15 to 20 minutes, he said. Frostbite is a big concern. They can get it on their pads, ears, and tails.

Ronio said the shelters have seen a slight uptick in calls for animals outside but he said if an owner is providing proper outdoor shelter, they are not breaking the law.

We would hope they would bring the animal inside, he said.

The Pennsylvania State Animal Response Team said dogs and cats should not be left outside when temperatures fall below 40 degrees.

According to the National Weather Service, the high in Pottstown is expected to only be 8 degrees Fahrenheit with the wind chill making it feel 15 below zero F.

If you notice shivering, lethargy, low heart rate, and unresponsiveness, bring your pet into a warm area, place a light blanket over (them), and call your veterinarian, the response team said.

The team also said to wipe dogs feet off after a walk to remove ice and salt deposits.

Animals and children should not be left inside of parked cars.

During the winter (a car) can act as an icebox and trap cold air inside, the response team said.

Ronio said the best way to take of an animal residents see outside is to call either the local police or the local SPCA.

We try to get to every call the same day, Ronio said.

If you are concerned about an animal you see outside in Montgomery County, call 610-825-0111; for Berks County, call 610-921-2348; for Chester County call 610-692-6113.