Keep your pets safe in winter

YORK, Pa. (WHTM) – Winter is here which means pet owners have to take extra care of their furry friends outside.

Experts say a common sense rule to follow is if it’s too cold for you, then it’s probably too cold for your pets.

“We are as concerned about that as our community is,” York County SPCA executive director Melissa Smith said.

Smith said the calls for animals left outside skyrockets this time of year.

“We wish we could do more, so that’s sort of that challenge for us,” Smith said.

“They’ll lose part of their ear a lot of times or they may lose a toe or the end of their tail,”  said Donald Sloat, a veterinarian at Community Animal Hospital in York.

In some parts of York County, it’s illegal to leave an animal tethered outside under 32 degrees.

“A dog that’s inside and then they’re put outside, that’s a real shock to their system, just like it is for us,” Smith said.

But for those not wanting to risk any chance of frostbite or infection, Smith recommends quick bathroom breaks, short walks, and clean paws.

“Make sure that you’re wiping your dog’s paws off when bringing them back in just to make sure there’s no materials on there that they don’t want and might inadvertently lick,” Smith said.

“You may even put a pad down for them to go inside so they don’t have to go outdoors,” Sloat said.

Pet owners could face a fine of up to $750 or even 90 days in jail if they are found guilty of animal cruelty.

If you suspect a pet is being neglected outside in the cold weather or already has frostbite, give the SPCA or police a call.

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