OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) -- When it gets beastly cold during the winter months keep in mind that the wind chill is a threat to your pets.
The wind chill is a serious threat to your pet.
You’re familiar with the wind chill. That’s the “feels-like” thing that the wind does to plenty-cold-enough-already and makes it miserable.
It bugs your buddy the same way it bugs you.
Unfortunately, many people underestimate how cold the wind can make their pets feel despite their fur coat.
Not all coats are created equal. Huskies and dogs bred for colder weather have undercoats designed to hold in heat. Those dogs can withstand colder temperatures than their leaner, single-coated friends from the south like Chihuahuas or pit bulls. Still, even a hardy arctic-bred dog will feel cold in the wind.
That's because as wind-speed increases, heat from a body is carried away faster. So the thermometer might read 35 degrees Fahrenheit but with a 20-mile-per-hour wind your pet will experience 11-degree temperatures. Withstanding that for prolonged exposure can lead to frostbite and even hypothermia.
Other factors can exaggerate extreme cold weather problems:
- Age of your pet. Puppies and kittens less than 6 months are at greater risk. Geriatric pets are also at higher risk.
- Sick, underweight pets or those on medications are more affected. Pets with poor circulation or diabetes also face increased risk.
- Pets that are outside for long periods of time, or who get wet.
- Pets with previous cold-related injuries, such as frostbite become more susceptible.
- Those stuck in small spaces like crates or houses, in cramped positions.
The best advice: bring him in if you expect a windy day or night, even if the temperature appears to be relatively comfortable. No matter what type of coat he has, he needs to be out of the wind in order to best conserve his body heat.