Local animal shelter and zoo provide tips for keeping animals safe in the cold weather

Local News

It doesn’t typically get to freezing temperatures here in the Valley during the winte,r but sometimes we do go into “shiver-mode”. And if you have pets, you can bet they’ll be feeling the discomfort, too.

“We do recommend you taking the animal inside when it’s cold,” said Brownsville Animal Regulation and Care Center Adoption Specialist Cristian Recio. “Just keep in mind, if you’re cold the animal is cold as well.”

That can even mean taking the extra step to watch out for feral critters.

“We’d also like to remind everyone to check the hood of your cars and tires,” said Recio. “Stray cats like to for warmth.”

But the cold shouldn’t be a deterrent for providing your pets with its daily needs.

“They also need exercise so as long as you don’t leave them out there at night,” said Recio. “You can still walk them, take your dogs out for potty breaks and everything.”

Animals at the zoo also follow a particular protocol when it gets too cold outside. Zookeepers will usually take them inside and provide extra bedding or extra heating if necessary.

“That might be bringing them into the back houses at night,” said Gladys Porter Zoo Animal Curator Walter Dupree. “That way we can monitor their heat, we can monitor their health and their condition. We put down extra bedding for them. Bedding could be hay, it could be wood shavings, it could be blankets, and we use those for different animals. Some animals are more cold tolerant than other animals, so we do watch that, and if they can put up with the cold then we don’t worry about them as much naturally.”

Animals like gorillas and flamingos are taken inside to avoid the health conditions that can come with being too cold.

“Frostbite…they have frostbite, you can go ahead and have just a miserable animal, which is not our job at all,” said Dupree. “We’re supposed to be treating them the best we can and give them the best care.”

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