GENERIC: Dog and cat

 The bitter cold is putting animals at risk.

With temperatures below freezing, your pet’s fur may not be enough to keep it warm.

Trish Barnes, director of Project Underdog, is a local advocate who’s on a mission to ensure outdoor cats and dogs stay safe and warm.

“I had a dog house with no straw, I had a 40-pound chain on my neck, and that chain made me so cold it took me hours to warm up,” Barnes said.

Barnes knows first hand what it’s like to be left out in the cold like many animals during the winter.

“People don’t understand how cold a chain can get. My body core temp went down within a couple of hours and I wasn’t able to stay outside,” Barnes said.

She said that is why she started Project Underdog. She wants to help care for animals during the cold months.

“We go out and help the community. Saginaw and Tuscola counties with straw and proper dog housing,” Barnes said. “We try to get dogs off of heavy chains and put them on lighter tethers.”

Barnes said oftentimes it’s not that people don’t want to care for their pets, they just can’t afford to.

“We see a lot of people who want to help, they just can’t afford it so we try and help them get back on their feet,” Barnes said.

That includes providing materials that will keep pets somewhat warm if they’re outside.

If you plan on leaving your dogs outside during these cold winter months, it’s important to make sure they’re comfortable in these conditions.

“As long as your dog is properly cared for, has a healthy weight, has food, water, proper shelter, and straw. Straw is what keeps the animal warm, hay does not,” Barnes said.

Remember winter can be a brutal time for both humans and pets.

“Anything under freezing can kill a person and an animal. We just want the animal to stay warm,” Barnes said.

Copyright 2019 WNEM (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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