DES MOINES, Iowa — Sub-zero temperatures are on the way this weekend. Not only can extremely cold weather be dangerous for people, but it is dangerous for animals as well. The Animal Rescue League of Iowa reminds pet owners to limit time outdoors because the cold could damage their paws.
“The movie where Ralphie sticks his tongue on to the flagpole. That is similar to what can happen with dogs in extreme cases, especially if you have cement and things of that nature. If they are outside, especially standing in one place for too long, it can damage their paws,” said Joe Stafford, the Animal Rescue League of Iowa’s director of animal services.
Stafford said if this happens, seek help from a veterinarian. But in order to prevent damage from the cold, limit their time outdoors. He said if it is too cold for you, it’s more than likely too cold for your pet, depending on the breed.
Stafford also said to wipe down your pet after they come inside, paying close attention to their paws because the abrupt change in temperature can cause skin irritations.
Car rides might be good for keeping your dog entertained, but Stafford said to not leave them unattended in the car for too long.
“Just as problematic as the heat is in the summer, your vehicle can act like a refrigerator, and it can even get colder inside the vehicle than it is outside if left for long periods of time,” Stafford said.
If you see an animal suffering in the cold, call the Des Moines Police Department’s non-emergency number at 515-283-4811 and they will send someone from animal control to help.