But despite the multiple snowstorms, freezes and cold snaps the area has experienced so far this winter, Coventry Animal Control officers have responded to multiple calls from residents who have witnessed pets outside in the cold for a prolonged period of time.
According to Animal Control Officer Matt McCormick, if you fear a pet has been left out in the cold too long, you shouldn't hesitate to contact the proper authorities. (The same goes during extreme heat.)
"They can definitely call us so we can go check on the situation," McCormick urged. "It doesn't matter what size or breed pet you have - they need to be supervised while outside in the cold and shouldn't stay out for more than a few minutes."
If they witness a pet left out in the cold, residents are asked to call Coventry Animal Control at 822.9106 during hours of operation. After-hours calls should be made to the Coventry Police Department's non-emergency line at 826-1100.
Winter Safety Tips for Pets
Here are some tips pet owners can use to keep their four-legged friends safe in the cold, courtesy of the Humane Society of the United States:
- Don't leave pets outdoors when the temperature drops. Dogs and cats are safest indoors, unless they are taken outside for supervised walks. Small animals will freeze very quickly because of their low body weight and lack of physical protection.
- Shorthaired dogs may feel more comfortable wearing a sweater.
- Pets that spend a lot of time outdoors need more food during the winter because staying warm requires more energy. Water dishes should be plastic because a pet's tongue can stick and freeze to metal. It is important to check regularly to make sure water is fresh and unfrozen.
- Salt used to melt snow and ice can irritate paws and may be harmful if ingested. Be sure to wipe feet with a damp towel before a pet licks them to remove the salt. Or consider using a pet-friendly ice melt.
- A dog that is kept outdoors should be protected with a dry, draft-free doghouse large enough to sit and lie down comfortably, but small enough to retain the animal's body heat. The floor should be raised off the ground and be covered with cedar shavings or straw.
- Antifreeze is deadly and because it has a sweet taste it can attract animals and children. Be sure to wipe up spills and store antifreeze out of reach. Antifreeze is available that is made with propylene glycol, which is less toxic in small amounts than that made with ethylene glycol.