The Bristol Tennessee Police Department wishes to remind pet owners in the community to take extra precaution during extreme cold weather. Pets are susceptible to hypothermia and frost bite to the exposed skin on their noses, ears, and paw pads during extreme cold weather, which can cause permanent damage or death. During and after walks, pets’ paws should be checked for signs of injury or damage such as cracked or bleeding paw pads or ice accumulation between their toes. Upon returning home, pets’ feet should also be wiped down to remove any deicing compounds that they may have picked up on their walk. Just like people, pets that are very young, very old, or that suffer from certain health conditions may not be as able to tolerate the cold, so adjustments like shorter walks may also need to be made accordingly. It is also important to clean up spills of antifreeze or similar chemicals, as even small amounts can be deadly to pets. If a pet shows any unusual signs of discomfort or illness during cold weather, their veterinarian should be consulted as soon as possible.
The best defense against the cold is to bring animals inside the home, an insulated garage, or other adequate shelter to offer them protection from the extreme elements. Bedding should be thick and dry, and pets should have access to fresh, non-frozen water. Leaving animals outside without adequate shelter could put their health at risk. Also, in the same way one might prepare for severe winter weather like blizzards by having extra non-perishable food on hand, pet needs such as food, water, and medications should be included in any pet owner’s emergency plan.
For questions or more information, please call the Bristol Tennessee Police Department at 423-989-5600.