If you don't protect your pets from the cold, you might be fined $999 and risk jail time.
DENVER (AP) — As two cold fronts reach Colorado, snow will fall for more than 24 hours in the Front Range.
Aside from the snow, Arctic-cold temperatures will sweep over Colorado, dropping below zero in Denver and across much of the state by Thursday morning.
Denver Animal Protection has issued a strong warning to people to ensure that their dogs are properly protected from the weather. Avoiding long-term outside exposure is the greatest approach to protect pets from severe temperatures.
If pets must be outside for longer periods of time, Denver municipal legislation mandates that they have proper outdoor shelter, such as a doghouse, porch area, or similar structure that allows the animal to escape the weather, according to Denver Animal Protection. Another layer of protection from the cold can be added by insulating the shelter or building a "doggie door" to a garage or covered space.
Failure to protect pets from the cold could result in a charge of Cruelty to Animals or Animal Neglect, which could result in a $999 fine and/or a year in prison for the owner.
Denver Animal Protect also advises drivers to beat on their hoods before driving, as stray cats frequently seek shelter in heated engines.
As the weather turns cooler, the Denver Dumb Friends League has provided the following pet safety tips:
Do not leave small, short-haired, or extremely young or old pets unattended outside. On hikes, warm sweaters or canine coats will keep them warm. Long-haired, larger dogs, as well as those with double coats (such as Nordic breeds), may appreciate the cold and snow, but they, too, should spend most of their time indoors with the family.
Dogs who spend a lot of time outside require a lot of fresh water. They can't burn calories if they don't have water, and they can't keep warm if they don't have water. Also, instead of a metal water bowl, use a tip-resistant ceramic or hard plastic water bowl; when the temperature is low, a dog's tongue might stick and freeze to metal.
Make sure your pets have a comfortable spot to sleep in the house, away from drafts and off the floor.
Keep your dog's coat in good shape. She won't be protected from the cold by matted fur.
Wipe her feet, legs, and stomach area after a walk to avoid ingesting salt or hazardous substances. Use a pet-friendly ice-melt solution on your own paths.
On snow or ice, never allow your dog off the leash, especially during a snowfall. Make sure they're wearing ID tags and have a microchip at all times.
Antifreeze and other chemicals should be checked in your garage and driveway. Antifreeze is a lethal poison, but it has a sweet flavor that animals find appealing. Any spills should be cleaned up soon away. Better still, use antifreeze produced with propylene glycol, which is pet-safe. It will not harm your pets, wildlife, or family if consumed in tiny doses.
In chilly weather, never leave a pet alone in a car. A car can operate like a refrigerator, trapping the cold and causing the animal to perish.
If you live in an area where there are outdoor cats, knock your car hood or blast the horn loudly before starting the engine. Outdoor cats frequently seek refuge near to a warm car engine or tire in order to stay warm.
Keep snow from accumulating too close to your fence. A deep snowdrift will give your dog an extra push to get out of your yard.
Consider how much activity your dogs get throughout the winter months and alter their meals accordingly. Do you want to stay at home and be lazy? There will be less food. Are you looking for something to do outside and be active? To generate greater body heat, more food may be required. To be sure, check with your veterinarian.