Lake Martin Animal Shelter

Animals need protection during cold weather months.

As the weather drops for the winter, pet owners should take extra care of their outdoor animals. Lake Martin Animal Shelter director Mia Chandler offers tips for helping pets that stay outside.

“If your pets are outdoors, keep an eye on their water because the bowls will freeze and they won’t get their intake,” Chandler said.

Chandler pleaded outdoor dogs have proper accommodations, such as a warm doghouse. She said if owners stick a thermometer in the house they would see there’s not much temperature difference inside a regular doghouse and the outdoors. Proper bedding and heating pads and lamps should be present in the winter.

If the temperature plummets to dangerously low temperatures such as below freezing, owners should make accommodations for animals in a garage or room of their house. 

“The smaller (dogs), they’re not equipped to handle the outdoor temperatures,” Chandler said. “Invest in a sweater to make them a little more comfortable.”

If owners are cold outside, pets are too. The shelter asks potential adopters during the screening process if they plan to make accommodations during the winter.

Owners have a moral obligation to bring pets in for the winter, Chandler said. 

Owners can construct shelter for stray cats. Car owners should also check for cats before starting their cars because the animals can hide under the hood or near tires for warm shelter. Simply tapping on the hood can get cats to scatter.

“It takes all of three seconds to do that,” Chandler said.

The animal shelter does not see an uptick of animals during the winter months but gets a bunch of animals considered “strays” even though they were being taken care of outdoors.

Alexander City is expected to see a cold front Sunday night, as the temperature will drop to 36 degrees. Monday the high will be only 49 degrees. As winter continues to approach, the temperatures will only get colder.

“It’s mostly common sense but just be aware of the temperatures,” Chandler said. “It might be comfortable during the day, but it can plummet.”