Local animal experts advise keeping pets indoors during winter weather

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PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — Although some pets may have a thick coat of fur, they are not immune to winter weather.

“Fur does not provide that much insulation for a pet,” said Kitty Yanko, Education Coordinator at the Peoria Humane Society. “We recommend that all pets are kept indoors.”

For outdoor pets, Yanko said it really is best to bring them inside when temperatures are extreme. However, if they must stay outside, Yanko said to ensure they have a draft-free shelter with straw or cedar chip bedding.

“Do not put blankets outside. Blankets get wet and they freeze,” Yanko said. “Straw or cedar chips are best for insulation.”

Yanko also said to keep outdoor shelters small enough so the pet can maintain its body heat.

Becky Spencer, Director of Peoria County Animal Protection Services (PCAPS) said that a furry friend may be colder than one would think in winter weather.

“They may appear to be happy, and tail-wagging and doing those things,” Spencer said, “But animals are naturally prone to not let on when they’re feeling pain.”

Spencer warned that a pet’s small feet are especially vulnerable.

Yanko recommended wiping a pet’s feet after going outside in cold conditions. This is because the salt and chemicals used to treat icy roads can irritate and dry out an animal’s feet. Dogs tend to lick their feet and can potentially ingest the harmful chemicals.

“No matter what the temps are, wind chill can threaten a pet’s life,” Yanko said. “So if it’s too cold for you, it’s too cold for your pet.”

To report an unclaimed animal left alone outdoors, contact PCAPS.

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