Veterinarian: Cold not the only danger pets face

CASCADE TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — While the extremely cold weather gripping West Michigan can be harmful to humans, animals are at risk, too.

Dr. Richard Siegle of the Cascade Hospital for Animals says pets face some of the same dangers from the cold as we do. Prolonged exposure to cold temperatures, particularly for short-haired dogs, can be dangerous.

"The risks are very similar to humans. Frostbite is the first thing. The ears on pets and their extremities are certainly susceptible to frostbite,” the hospital director said.

With a polar vortex expected to send temperatures plummeting this week, Grand Rapids police are encouraging owners to keep pets inside whenever possible, wipe them off, and keep an extra layer of clothing on them during outside breaks.

If your pet is primarily an outside animal, adequate shelter and fresh water are a must.

There are subtler dangers associated with the cold and snow as well.

"Poisoning this time of year is also a concern, and that is with antifreeze. Antifreeze is very toxic to pets. It's very sweet tasting, so if it spills on snow, a lot of dogs want to lick that," Siegle explained.

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