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Cooler Weather: Some Dangers for Pets

By Jenny Andersoncold

Special to Today’s News-Herald

There is some irony in celebrating the cool fall and winter temperatures in the desert.  Too many people, especially those coming from the North Country, assume it is safe to leave a dog in their vehicle with the windows cracked.  Unfortunately, there are few shady spots in the desert, and even in winter, our intense desert sun quickly heats a vehicle to dangerously high temperatures.  It may only be in the 60’s outside, but the vehicle can warm to nearly 100 degrees in just 10 to 15 minutes.   Imagine placing your pet in a warm oven!

The opposite situation applies when visiting cold country during the holidays.  Again, pets should not be left unattended inside a vehicle.  Freezing cold temperatures penetrate a vehicle and trap the cold inside, making a pet suffer from hypothermia.  A vehicle can be likened to a refrigerator, maintaining a near-freezing atmosphere.  Just remember how long it takes to either warm or cool a vehicle to a comfortable temperature.

It is very tempting to just run into the store for a few minutes, but if we run into someone we haven’t seen for some time, it’s easy to forget our pet in the vehicle.  We might also get stuck in a long line of shoppers waiting to check out.   When in doubt, it’s best to leave Fido home where he will be comfortable.

Another myth is that dogs do fine in the cold weather because of their “winter coats”.  The ASPCA recommends using pet sweaters or coats for short haired breeds (think dachshunds and pit bulls) when they will be outdoors in freezing temperatures.  The coat should cover from the neck to the base of the tail.  Fancy fashionable outerwear isn’t necessarily the best for warmth—just something comfy which will insulate.

In the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, please do not forget dogs and cats need all the usual consideration, such as fresh water, attention, and cozy sleeping spots.  Although routines may change along with the change from fall to winter, animals do need just as much care.  In our household, the companion animals are a part of our family.  We try to give them the care they deserve.  After all, the devotion and unconditional love they give us is worth that attention.

Looking for a dog?  WAHS will be participating at the annual POOCH PARTY IN THE PARK!  There will be dogs on hand at the park, available for adoption Nov. 22nd & 23rd starting at 9:00am until 4:00 both days.  It is a great opportunity to bring your dog to meet and greet a potential new family member.

The Western Arizona Humane Society is open Monday-Saturday, 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m., with kennel hours 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Call 855-5083 for details. For found or lost pets, call 855-4111. View animals found at


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