How to protect your pets from cold weather

Local 10 News meteorologists want you to protect plants, animals

Martha Stewart carries a line of clothing for dogs that is sold at PetSmart. Take the Herribone Sweater that costs between $4.97 to $5.47.
Martha Stewart carries a line of clothing for dogs that is sold at PetSmart. Take the Herribone Sweater that costs between $4.97 to $5.47. (MARTHA STEWART PETS)

MIAMI – Local 10 News meteorologist Julie Durda said Thursday temperatures in Miami are expected to be the coldest since December 2010.

She is advising that residents protect their animals and plants from the cold weather. Cats and dogs should be kept inside since they are susceptible to frostbite and hypothermia.

When you bring your pets inside, Miami-Dade County Animal Services' experts want you to remember that although chocolate may be your favorite treat, it should stay away from pets.

"Chocolate is a potential stimulant that can produce potentially life threatening toxic effects," a Miami-Dade County warning said. Some of the symptoms of consumption include vomit, diarrhea and nervousness.

Other potentially toxic foods include onions and the sugar substitute xylitol. Also, keep your pets away from medication bottles and household chemicals. And block access to space heaters and heat lamps that could cause burns or a fire.

The American Veterinary Medical Association warns that cold weather may worsen some medical conditions such as arthritis, diabetes, heart disease and hormonal imbalances.

Cold tolerance varies from pet to pet, so shorten your scheduled walks.  Long-haired or thick-coated dogs such as huskies tend to be more cold-tolerant, but are still at risk. It's a good time to play dress-up, if your dog has a short coat.

Cold Weather Tips

  • Pets need more water when it is cold than when it is hot, so provide it often.

  • Increase his supply of food -- particularly protein.

  • Bring them inside. Place a blanket or bedding to add a protected layer.

Tips For Stray Animals

The America Society For The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals warns that before you turn on your car engine, you should check underneath, bang the hood and honk the horn to get cats to abandon their roost under the hood.

The Humane Society suggests that if you want to help stray cats, you provide them storage bins or other forms of shelter.  Also, put out bowls of food and water far from the doorway of the shelter. And contact your animal control agency if you see a pet is abandoned and left out in the cold.

Follow Local 10 News on Twitter @WPLGLocal10

Follow Local10.com on Twitter @MiamiCrime