Cold Times for Canines
5:00 am
Sun January 5, 2014

Keeping Warm a Challenge for Some Animals

With temperatures expected to stay well below zero for several days, humans are not the only ones suffering.  Animals kept outside may also be having a hard time. 

Horses can survive a cold winter, as long as they are kept out of direct wind.
Credit Aonghus Flynn

Dr. Ron Reupert at Animal Health Care Center North in Rhinelander says most pet owners know how to take care of their animals.  But he says many dog breeds like hounds aren’t built for weather this cold. 

“Short haired dogs I have seen not do well.  If they are kept outdoors, they need to have a supplemental heat source, and a lot of people do do that.” 

Reupert says he sees dogs suffering weight loss and other stress reactions to the extreme cold…that may be linked to organ failure down the road. 

But he says most livestock can weather the temperatures...as long as they’re not exposed to direct wind. 

“Horses and cattle do pretty well in the cold.  As long as they have enough to eat, and as long as they can get out of the wind.” 

Reupert says he has seen horses develop respiratory issues if they’re shut up in a barn with poor ventilation. 

Besides extra food, it’s important to give outdoor animals plenty of water that’s not frozen…to prevent dehydration and hypothermia.