Dallas' animal shelter is urging pet owners to look out for the safety of their pets as temperatures plummet to near freezing and North Texas begins to face winter weather advisories.
That means bring them inside.
All pets are required to have access to warm and dry shelter once the actual or effective temperature reaches 32 degrees.
"What is adequate during our typical 50-degree winter days is not adequate during the freezing weather we are beginning to face now," says Ed Jamison, director of Dallas Animal Services in a release. "The safest option is to bring your pets indoors when the temperatures drop like this."
All pets are at risk during this weather, regardless of size or breed. That includes even winter breeds like huskies.
"Don't be fooled by your pet's fur coat," Jamison says. "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."
If you see a pet in distress or left outdoors in temperatures 32 degrees or below without shelter, please call 3-1-1 to make a report.
DAS manager Ann Barnes says to use your judgment. "Don't assume that any pet outside is in danger or without shelter," Barnes says. "We ask that residents do their best to determine whether other pet owners have set up adequate outdoor shelter prior to calling to 3-1-1, because it allows officers to focus their attention on pets in dire need."
The ASPCA adds its cold-weather tips:
- Towel dry your pet as soon as you come inside on cold and wet days to keep pets comfortable and to avoid skin issues.
- Avoid shaving your pet’s fur short in winter months.
- Keep walks short during wet or icy days. Consider massaging petroleum jelly into their paws before leaving the house to provide extra protection, or else give them booties.
- Pavement and cement are very cold in the winter. Walk on grass.
- Avoid antifreeze and other chemicals used to melt ice since they're toxic to pets.
- 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.
The city has 5 tips to prepare for the freeze:
- Don't stay outside longer than needed, and wear multiple layers
- Turn off lawn sprinklers. It's a code violation to cause ice from sprinklers
- Dallas residents are welcome to seek shelter in any of he city's 43 Park and Recreation facilities and 29 libraries during normal business hours.
- Bring in or wrap sensitive plants to protect them
- Set faucets to drip – avoiding pipe damage during freezing temperatures can save costly repairs.
The City of Dallas Office of Emergency Management has winter weather tips for your home, office, and if you're traveling.