By Marie Nesmith Jan 17, 2024 | Daily Tribune News

As Bartow continues to experience below-freezing temperatures, Etowah Valley Humane Society Director Bryan Canty is urging pet owners to bring their animals indoors. As of Jan. 17 at 2 p.m., the weather forecast for Cartersville is predicting low temperatures ranging from 12 to 23 degrees through Jan. 22.

“Freezing temperatures are as detrimental to our pets as they are to humans,” Canty said. “No one wants to be ‘left out in the cold’ — figuratively and literally. Of course, being physically left out is much more impactful in the short term as it poses a greater health issue.”

While the animals’ coats do provide them with various benefits, Canty underscored the importance of pets taking shelter indoors, if possible.

“We all know, canines have several advantages over humans when it comes to tolerating low temps, but everything has its limitations,” he said. “Yes, they have coats of fur/hair. Yes, their pores don’t function like ours do. And, yes, certain breeds can withstand subzero temperatures with relative ease.

“However, when we consider it from a humane point of view, why would we want to unnecessarily subject them to harsh conditions? Most folks that I know consider their pets to be parts of the family. Would you leave your kids or parents to fend for themselves in winter? Absolutely not!”

With this in mind, Canty noted the impact that extreme cold weather can have upon pets.

“Hypothermia can permanently scar them — physically and psychologically,” he said. “We live in an advanced civilized society. We have the means to shield them from harm. Why wouldn’t we?”

Canty encourages area residents to continue to treat their four-legged friends “as the valued members of the family that they are.”

“So what, if you have new flooring or new furniture? They can be replaced,” Canty said. “Our pets cannot. Even an empty garage or outbuilding is better than exposing them to freezing temps. If they have doghouses, insulate them or line them with blankets or hay. Cover the openings with wind-proof barriers.

“Make sure they have access to food and water. Most folks may not realize that hydration is just as important during the winter as it is in the summer months. Bottom line — treat them as we would want to be treated. I consider that to be a tangent of the Golden Rule.”

The nonprofit, American Humane also features some helpful recommendations on its website.

According to, “To help keep pets safe, American Humane offers the following veterinarian-approved tips: Limit time outdoors when possible; Use nontoxic antifreeze — Antifreeze is great-tasting for pets, but ingesting even a small amount can be fatal; Dry and wipe down pets after spending time outdoors — Sidewalk salt is toxic and can lead to dry and irritated paws. Lingering ice can also cause frostbite; Keep your pet leashed during walks — It’s easier for a dog to become lost in winter storm conditions. More dogs are lost during the winter than during any other season; Provide extra food and water — Staying warm requires extra calories; Protect your puppy — Puppies are more susceptible to cold than adult dogs, so limit time outdoors; Plan ahead — Watch for cold weather warnings and keep a pet-preparedness kit well-stocked in case you can’t leave your home for several days.”