How to Best Protect Your Pets in the Cold

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- If you see a pet that is not being cared for properly in these harsh winter conditions, you do not have to stand idly by. 

Seeing calls come in for neglected animals in the cold is not an uncommon sight for Josh Gibson as an Animal Control Officer. 

"Get through to animal control, and we will go ahead and assess the situation, Gibson says. "I've had quite a few calls of neighbors just looking out at next door neighbors back yards, seeing dogs not necessarily having the proper care. No food, No food no water." 

When being sent out to these calls, animal control uses it as an opportunity to advise pet owners about responsible care.

"I educate, and I meet with residents that own the dogs. For adequate shelter, for any kind of inclement weather that comes in... to make sure they have a place to go to stay out of the weather," explains Gibson.  

Macy Michel with Cobblestone Veterinary Hospital says the clinic sees bad situations for pets when not properly cared for in harsh winter conditions. 

"As a responsible pet owner, you want to put yourself in your pets shoes. If you are cold, they are going to be cold," Michel says. "We have had some animals come in who didn't have a shelter outside. You could tell their water may have frozen, they were thirsty. It was not a happy ending." 

A common mistake for pet owners is forgetting to keep fresh water available and making sure it doesn't become ice. With the temperatures getting colder, make sure that the water is changed out quite a bit and that it does not freeze.

The biggest recommendation that Animal Control makes on these calls is simply taking pets indoors. 

"If they are able to bring the dog in as well to keep it out of the element, we always recommend that," Gibson says. 

If you are concerned for the well being of an animal being left outside in the cold, Gibson says it is best to call a non-emergency line to get through to animal control so they can address the situation with the owner of the pet. 


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