Keeping pets safe in cold weather - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Keeping pets safe in cold weather

WATERLOO (KWWL) The pets at Bridges Senior Lifestyle Living in Waterloo are family. Knowing she could keep her beloved 10-year-old poodle Shazzy is why Pat Hawker moved in.

"Without my pet I wouldn't go anywhere," said Pat Hawker.

But when the weather is bad, Hawker is happy for some help with Shazzy.

"When it's icy, snowy or too cold, Jon the manager does not want any of us to get hurt out there. So he just said when it's bad we don't want you to take your dog out. We'll do it for you, which I really do appreciate," said Hawker.

Director of Concierge Services, Charlotte White, never thought taking dogs out in the cold would be part of her job.

"No, I didn't but I'm a pet lover so it really doesn't matter to me," said Charlotte White.

White bundles up anywhere from six to ten times a day to take various residents' dogs outside.

Staff will even get dogs for residents who can't make it downstairs.

In cold weather, bathroom breaks for the dogs are usually pretty quick. It's too cold to be outside, even for our furry friends.

If your dog isn't lucky enough to live inside like the Bridges' dogs her are some times from Dr. Elizabeth Bixby with Taylor Veterinary Hospital in Cedar Falls.

Never leave them outside for hours without proper shelter. Also, make sure the shelter is insulated and keep it lined with extra bedding. Pets outside in the cold actually need more water than normal, so keep the dish full and make sure it doesn't freeze.

If you have an inside pet, Dr. Bixby says his or her coat probably isn't very thick so you might want to consider a sweater or some type of covering. You might also consider footpads or be sure to thoroughly clean your dogs paws to get out all the sand, salt and other chemicals we use this time of year that can irritate the pads in the feet.

Dr Bixby said frostbite is common in pets this time of year, especially on the ears. If frostbite gets too bad, part of the ear can actually fall off.

Reporter: Danielle Wagner

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