Chill across Tampa Bay area affecting pets, stray animals

(WFLA) – The chill across the Tampa Bay area is affecting more than just citrus trees, plants and pipes. There are also a lot of animals needing a bit of extra TLC because even though they have fur, winter temps are a real risk to pets.

“My advice is, as we’re standing out here shivering, is that if it’s too cold for you to be outside, it’s too cold for your pets to be outside,” said Rick Chaboudy, with the Suncoast Animal League.

He also reminds pet owners about foot and water supplies.

“Shivering burns up a lot of energy for the animals. We don’t normally have to worry about water freezing but they need a lot of water to keep hydrated and extra food,” he said.

Chaboudy also suggests pet owners think about using hay instead of a blanket.

“The problem with blankets is that a dog can sit in there all night long, not coming out, he gets bored and he starts chewing on them. So you have a risk of them swallowing up parts of a chewed up blanket.”

Something else to think about is the location of your pet’s outdoor home.

“If you can keep that wind and that breeze off of them, that’s gonna help them a lot,” Chabudy said.

Even if you don’t own any pets, Chabudy also has advice to protect stray animals like cats that can often curl up on a warm car engine.

“Bang really loud on the hood of your car. Bang it, bang it, bang it and hopefully it will scare it and it will take off and run,” he suggests.

Even in a backyard, exposure to cold and damp conditions can cause chapped paws. The ASPCA recommends rubbing a little bit of petroleum jelly into your pets paws to help with cold weather chafing.

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