Cold weather protections for pets suggested

The forecast calls for falling temperatures, which translates into rising responsibilities for pet owners.

“Always providing adequate shelter to your animals is imperative during the winter. Whether it’s 30 degrees outside or negative 30 degrees outside, having adequate shelter is the law, you have to have it,” St. Joseph County Humane Society Director Ginny Carlson said.

The definition of adequate shelter depends on an animal’s age, size, coat and breed, but there are some basics.

“We have free straw here at the shelter to help with outdoor animals, dogs and cats living outside to keep them insulated and warm. You also want to make sure that your pets have plenty of food and water during the cold weather and that the water's not freezing, so you're going to want to make sure that the water is put in plastic bowls or rubber bowls (not steel), and heated bowls are best, “Carlson said.

Furthermore, road and sidewalk salt can get into an animal’s paws and cause irritation.