Pets need shelter from the cold

By Gisele Gamble Special to The Examiner

The cold weather has swept in, and winter is here. Winter can be a tough time for all of us. The cold can make us miserable. The freezing temperatures and sharp cold winds can cause hypothermia or frostbite. This applies to us and our pets.

We all need to remember our pets during the winter. Domestic dogs and cats are not meant to be left outside for long periods of time. They are not like wild animals. They cannot withstand the cold temperatures and wind. Dogs and cats need to be in a warm shelter, preferably a home.

Scientists estimate that dogs were domesticated around 40,000 years ago. Cats were domesticated as early as 440 BC in Asia and Europe. Once domesticated, these animals were mostly dependent on humans for their needs. That holds today for those who still think dogs and cats can live outside on their own.

Even though some animals are tied or caged out with a wooden or plastic house, they still suffer from the cold. Currently our laws state that either of these is considered a shelter. We have a long way to go on really being humane.

Treating our cats and dogs as family not only enriches their lives but enhances ours as well. Our pets give us so much love and companionship. They entertain us and make us laugh with their goofy antics. My house is never dull since I have two puppies. I would not trade them for anything.

We need to keep our cats and dogs inside and treat them as family. They should be safe and warm inside our homes during the cold winter months. Please keep your pets inside during the winter and encourage others to do so as well.