When temperatures fell into the negatives last month in Meridian Township, many pet owners hit the stores to protect their animals from the cold.
The foot traffic increased at Soldan’s Feed and Pet Supplies on West Grand River Avenue days before winter storm Jayden hit the Meridian Township, said Skyler Schuster, a store employee.
“I did see an increase in some of the sales,” Schuster said. “We sold out of all of our dog boots.”
While Haslett resident Trish Ng did not buy the boots recently, she makes sure her dog Gypsy suits up in dog boots as well as a coat.
Ng was concerned about having Gypsy outside for long periods of time, but did not need to worry much as Gypsy preferred to stay inside rather than out.
“Her ears were uncovered so they did get cold, and she was very reluctant to go outside even with the jacket and shoes on,” Ng said. “She got really efficient doing her business out there and made a beeline for the house (when she finished).”
Preparing inside homes
Although Okemos resident Meg Wiseman’s pet Bella is an indoor cat, Wiseman was concerned that her cat might be uncomfortable as the extreme temperatures affected their home.
“She sleeps in our basement, which isn’t that cold really because we had the heater running,” Wiseman said. “I definitely didn’t want her to get too cold so we would try and keep her where it was warmest in the house.”
Wiseman kept Bella in the house and made sure no doors or windows stayed open.
Keep paws covered for pet’s health
Despite the negative temperatures during the polar vortex, the Doggy Daycare and Spa of Okemos remained open.
Owner Janice Milligan stayed on site to take care of dogs that were boarding, and did not allow any dogs to go outside. Normally, the daycare and spa has the dogs relieve themselves outside, but the “Dog Gymnasium”, an indoor space for animals to run around, allowed for animals to stay inside as the crew had protocol to clean up messes.
Even when the area is not facing extreme negatives, Milligan tends to limit the time outside in the winter months for the dogs she takes care of at her business, as well as her personal pets.
“When it is too cold for us, it is too cold for the dogs,” Milligan said.
Milligan encourages covering paws when the animals go outside. In colder situations she will stand at the door and wait for them to do their business and come back inside.
“I have a young dog who doesn’t necessarily know any better to come right in,” Milligan said. “There was this one time where I did have to go out and rescue him. You have to be prepared for that.”
Tips and things to watch for
As temperatures fall, owners of pets also need to be prepared for the possibility of frostbite and the effects of sidewalk salt according to the Haslett Animal Hospital website.
The hospital’s website states that signs of frostbite include swelling, discoloration, pain, blisters or skin ulcers and areas on their body that feel cold. The hospital also warns that if sidewalk salt is consumed it can cause upset stomachs, and if eaten in large quantities, it can lead to death.
To care for your pet, keep extremities covered and wipe their paws to remove any salt that might linger.
Contact your nearest animal hospital if your pet exhibits these signs. If you have further questions on cold weather preparedness, contact the Animal Humane Society at 952-HELP-PET.