Furry friends need to be protected as cold weather grips South Mississippi

Experts say to bring your pets in during the cold weather and bundle them up when they go out.
Experts say to bring your pets in during the cold weather and bundle them up when they go out.(wlox)
Published: Jan. 21, 2022 at 6:05 PM CST
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GULFPORT, Miss. (WLOX) - If you are having problems adjusting to the cold temperatures, you can bet your pet will struggle as well. And for strays, the freeze blast can mean a death sentence.

Kelly Taylor is doing her part to keep animals safe as a pet owner and foster.

And attention to detail is especially important during one of the most dangerous times for South Mississippi animals.

“I know if I’m cold, they’re cold,” Taylor said. “Even though they have fur, they’re not used to the cold weather being down in the South. So, yeah, I try to bundle them up.”

It can make a simple walk more of an ordeal, but Taylor is OK with that.

“Yeah, it’s just like, pretty much, having a child,” she said. “You know, you have to take that extra time to bundle them up and make sure they’re warm enough so they don’t get sick or injured by the cold.”

And, Bianca Janik, clinic director with the Humane Society of South Mississippi, said the warning signs of hypothermia are clear.

“A lot of times if a dog or a cat is getting too cold, their body temperatures dropping, they will physically shake and then you will see a lack of shakiness,” she said.

Heather Greer, HSSM medical manager, has seen what can happen.

“We had a puppy that a citizen found on the side of the road that was absolutely freezing,” she said. “The puppy was complete shut down so we had to get that puppy warm just so he would even wake up to move. Because he was complete comatose at that point.”

The puppy didn’t survive. But a sweet, cold-weather victim, named “Kirsi” did. The Humane Society helped her battle through an upper respiratory infection, likely a result of the colder temperatures.

Taylor said it takes a proactive approach to keep all animals safe.

“Puppies, cats, any animals, please bring inside,” she said. “They’re not used to this. And, if you have ferals or stray animals around, try to build them a little container with some straw, not blankets, because it’ll freeze to them during the cold weather if it’s wet.”

And, just like with humans, the most susceptible animals during the cold temperatures are older adult dogs and puppies.

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