Take Extra Care with Animals During Winter Weather
During periods of severe winter weather, animal owners should be ready to protect their pets and livestock. The following are concerns to be aware of and recommendations from the Virginia Cooperative Extension-Loudoun Office:
- Many animals, especially indoor/outdoor pets, probably do not have an adequate winter coat for protection in very low temperatures.
- Hypothermia and dehydration are the two most probable life-threatening conditions for animals in cold weather.
- Pets should be brought inside or into protected covered areas, provided with plenty of bedding, food and drinking water.
- Livestock should be provided with wind-break and roof shelter, and monitored for signs of discomfort (extensive shivering, weakness, lethargy, etc.). Ensure that animals have adequate shelter with plenty of dry bedding. Do not use space heaters inside barns or places where hay is stored.
- It is very important that livestock be provided extra hay/forage/feed as up to double the calories for normal body heat maintenance may be needed in extreme cold.
- It is critical that animals have access to drinking water. Keep an eye on water sources as they may freeze solid in low temperatures.
- Special attention should be paid to very young and old animals. They may be less able to tolerate temperature extremes and have weaker immune systems.
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