Cold comfort: Creatures need extra care in winter
That's the word from animal welfare experts as New Hampshire braces for the next cold snap.
After a brief respite forecast for today and Monday, temperatures are predicted to plummet back into the single digits again overnight Monday into Tuesday.
"Yes, it (their fur) is insulating for a period of time, but that doesn't help the pads on their feet; it doesn't help their noses that are exposed; it doesn't help their ears; it doesn't help a lot of the areas that are still susceptible to frostbite."
It's not just domestic pets that need extra attention during cold snaps. Turcott, who owns a horse farm, said she has heaters in her water troughs, but had to change the water in the animals' stalls every four hours during last week's deep freeze.
And the state's animal cruelty statute requires any outdoor dog houses to be of "proportionate" size, allowing the animals to stay warm and dry, according to state veterinarian Stephen Crawford.
It's different for livestock animals, he said. Under state law, "we have this definition that you have to provide adequate care, sustenance, protection and shelter."
Cows, horses, sheep and goats are "bacterial digesters," he explained, with bacteria in their guts that ferment the plant material they eat.
Even pigs are better equipped to handle the cold than we are, Crawford said, with extra body fat that keeps them warmer - not unlike whales that thrive in the icy oceans.
Still, she said, "When it's below zero or the wind chills are like this, they're not especially happy about it."
"When it's days like this, it's long and hard and it's unpredictable because if you have something that freezes up or equipment that won't run ... farmers don't really like days like this."
"If you're going to be out running around, and your dog is running around and enjoying himself and being part of the family playing out in the snow, fine," she said. But "when you come in for your hot chocolate, bring the dog in. When you're cold, they're cold."
"He has no desire to spend any extra time outdoors; his body isn't built for that."
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