Two cats looking at snow through window in High Point (Ceara Hester/WGHP)
Two cats looking at snow through window in High Point (Ceara Hester/WGHP)

(WGHP) — Winter weather means a ton a fun for some of our furry friends and possibly life-threatening conditions for others.

When there’s snow, sleet, hail and freezing rain, pet owners must be extra vigilant to keep their pets safe. Fortunately, local organizations are doing their best to help.

ReadyNC keeps an up-to-date list of emergency shelters, including information on whether or not the site is pet friendly.

As of about 12:15 p.m. Sunday, the only shelter open in North Carolina is a pet-friendly location in Carthage. That may change as conditions change.

In Alamance County, Burlington Animal Services is standing by to help. If needed, the city is prepared to open emergency shelters for people, and Burlington Animal Services is ready to take in their pets for temporary emergency boarding. The pets will wait for their owners in the safety of the Burlington Animal Services Pet Adoption and Resource Center and will go home with their families after.

Burlington Animal Services is also poised to respond to pet emergencies in the community.

On Friday, the Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office released the following tips on how to make sure your pet is warm and healthy in winter weather:

  • Thoroughly wipe off your dog’s legs and stomach when he comes in out of the sleet, snow or ice. He can
    ingest salt, antifreeze or other chemicals while licking his paws, and his paw pads may also bleed from
    snow or encrusted ice.
  • Consider getting your short-haired breed a coat or sweater with a high collar or turtleneck that covers the
    dog from base of the tail on the top to the belly underneath. This may seem like a luxury, however to some
    breeds is a necessity.
  • Adult dogs tolerate the cold much better than puppies. If necessary, paper train your puppy inside if he
    appears to be sensitive to the weather.
  • Increased food, particularly protein, will help keep your dogs fur thick and healthy. This is particularly
    important if your dog spends a lot of time engaged in outdoor activities.
  • Coolant, like antifreeze is a lethal poison for dogs and cats. Be careful to thoroughly clean up any spills
    from your vehicle, and consider using products that contain propylene glycol rather than ethylene glycol.
  • Never shave your dog down to the skin in winter. Leave the coat longer for more warmth. When you
    bathe your dog, completely dry him before taking him out for a walk.
  • Pets need a warm place to sleep away from all drafts and off the floor, such as in a dog or cat bed with a
    warm blanket or pillow in it.
  • In the winter, outdoor cats sometimes sleep under the hoods of cars. When the motor is started, the cat can
    be injured or killed by the fan belt. Before starting the engine, bang loudly on the car hood to give the cat
    the chance to escape.
  • More dogs are lost during the winter than during any other season, so make sure that they always wear I.D.
    tags. If you’re in Forsyth County, it’s the LAW! Don’t let you dogs off the leash on snow or ice. Dogs
    can lose their scent and easily get lost.

FurEver Friends of NC tells FOX8 that they are receiving calls about animals with grossly inadequate or no shelter which raises significant concerns during winter weather events.

Forsyth County Sheriff Bobby Kimbrough released a video Saturday emphasizing that animal neglect and abuse is against the law.

“If the Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office and Animal Services come across such incidences, you will be charged, you will be fined, you will be prosecuted,” Kimbrough said. “Our community reflects how we treat one another and how we treat our pets. We’ve got to take better care of our pets. We’re stronger, safer and better together.”