DANVILLE — If you’re cold, then so are your pets.
That’s the word from local animal experts, who are urging people to make sure their outdoor pets have warm shelter and fresh water during the winter blast.
“Common sense goes a long way,” said Glen Laird, director of the Humane Society of Danville. “You can’t put a dog in a 2-by-2-foot cardboard box and expect it to survive.”
A dog should have a sturdy house with lots of straw, blankets or towels for warmth. The opening should face east or preferably south, he said, away from the wind.
In a pinch, three or four hay bales can form a shelter, with a piece of plywood on top, he said.
Paige Brown, director of the Vermilion County Animal Shelter, agreed it’s important to make sure the animal is out of the wind. Also, blowing snow can enter the dog house, so make sure the entrance is away from the wind.
She suggested moving the dog house into a barn or garage, or at least next to your own house. She said owners should use straw, which is warmer than hay, or blankets.
Straw is readily available at local stores, such as Big R and Tractor Supply, she said.
Both Brown and Laird said it’s important to make sure there’s fresh water. Even though it’s cold weather, the pet still needs to have water.
If you don’t have a heated water bowl, then make sure you go outside periodically and break up the ice. Laird, who owns horses, said he goes out two or three times a day, checking the water.
Brown said people, especially those in rural areas, need to have a contingency plan in this type of weather, in case they can’t get home to take care of the animals. For example, have a neighbor check on the pets if you can’t get home.