NEW ORLEANS (2/04/09) - The Louisiana SPCA is advising residents to include pets in their freeze plans as temperatures are expected to dip near or below freezing for the next couple of days. Although cold weather is not typical of our climate, the same provisions we provide for ourselves should also be put into place for our pets.

Pet owners should take the following precautions:

*         Pets should not be kept outdoors during the cold weather. Adequate shelter from the elements should be provided. Like humans, they can also suffer from hypothermia and frost bite. Ear tips are especially susceptible to frostbite.

*         If you cannot bring your pets indoors, their outdoor shelter should provide adequate protection from high winds and lower temperatures. Provide them with a sheltered enclosure and include blankets and pillows to provide them with additional warmth.

*         Be aware that puppies and kittens and senior pets are particularly sensitive to colder temperatures and should never be left outdoors.

*         Gas furnaces and electric heaters should not be left on in a home unattended. It can create a fire hazard and animals left alone cannot signal for help.

*         Beware of outdoor cats.  Cats left outdoors have a particular hazard; they often crawl into a warm car engine to get warm. When that engine is next started up, the cat can be seriously injured or killed by the fan blade or belt. Even, if you do not have cats be aware and make sure that stray cats have not sought shelter from the cold by hiding under or in your car. .

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The Louisiana Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals is an organization devoted to improving the lives of animals and eliminating the homelessness, neglect and abuse that signal animal suffering. Chartered in 1888, our history has been paved with an understanding that only through an improved human-animal ethic can we better the lives of companion animals and that of our community. Our programs and services are infused with the highest standards of care and compassion.