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Cold pet tips

– Fort Wayne Animal Care & Control officials warn that cold weather can be deadly for pets. Their advice:

•Limit your pet’s exposure to cold weather. Only thick-coated breeds of animals should be considered for outdoor living. Keep cats inside.

•Age and health make a difference in your pet’s ability to be outside in winter. Even if a thick-coated dog has lived outside in past winters, it should be examined and given the OK by a veterinarian.

•Dogs must have a doghouse available when outside in the cold or if living in an unheated garage. Provide straw or wood chips as bedding. Blankets are not acceptable, as the condensation from the animal’s breathing and body heat will create moisture, causing the animal’s coat or skin to freeze to the blanket.

•Fasten a heavy door flap to the top of the doghouse opening to keep out wind and drafts. Position the opening of the house toward the south/southeast, away from the direction of the coldest wind. When wind chills and temperatures reach minus 10 degrees, a doghouse is not enough protection for even thick-coated dogs; bring them inside.

•Increase the amount of food you give to animals living outside. They need 15 percent more calories for every 20-degree drop in temperature. Avoid using metal food bowls and provide plenty of fresh, unfrozen drinking water. Invest in a heated water bowl or bucket sold at animal supply stores.

Animal neglect inside the city can be reported by calling 427-1244. Neglect outside city limits can be reported by calling the county sheriff’s department.

– The Journal Gazette