Frigid temperatures could cause dangerous situations for pets

With frigid temperatures Tuesday dipping lower than they’ve been in the past 20 years, Centre County residents need to take precautions for their pets, experts say.

Temperatures will struggle to eclipse 0 degrees throughout the day, meaning dogs and cats need to be brought inside to prevent problems such as frostbite and hypothermia, said Robyn Graboski, Centre County Animal Response Team co-coordinator.

“In extreme temperatures, especially for dogs that are outside, they should be brought inside where they have shelter,” she said, adding that people should start to take precautionary measures when temperatures drop below 40 degrees.

Some dogs have the ability to stay warmer than others in very cold temperatures, but precautions need to be taken for all animals when the cold sets in. Throughout the winter season, Graboski said, pet owners should look to purchase insulated dog houses with heating mats and electrified dog bowls that prevent water from freezing.

If a pet is left outside and the owner notices shivering, lethargy, low heart rate and unresponsiveness, the animal should immediately be brought inside and the owner should call a veterinarian. People should also wrap the animal in a light blanket in the interim.

And if anyone sees a dog outdoors with no shelter, the Centre County dog warden can be reached by phone at 553-8511.

The incoming cold front is much stronger than normal, and AccuWeather senior meteorologist Tom Kines said setting a new record low for the day is possible. The record low temperature for Jan. 7 is minus 1, so if it drops below that at any point of the day, a new record will be set.

Kines added that the last time the high temperature was at or about 0 degrees was 1994. The intense cold will last from Monday night through Tuesday before temperatures start to climb.

“The worst of it is only going to last a couple days, which is good, then temperatures will start a slow rebound,” he said.

In addition to animals, frostbite sets in quickly for humans and Kines said people should avoid venturing outdoors with exposed skin throughout the day Tuesday.

The second half of the week could bring slightly higher temperatures and some snow. Rain that fell Sunday could also cause some hazardous driving conditions Monday if wet spots on the road freeze and create ice patches.