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Jackson County Animal Control Officer Lloyd Nelson is once again reminding pet owners to think about the falling temperatures as it relates to their pets.

Weather forecasts are predicting rain and snow for the weekend, followed by temperatures below freezing for Sunday through the next week.

“Looking at the weather, if people are going to take care of their animals, now is the time to do it,” Nelson said.

Ideally, he said pets should be brought in when temperatures outside fall into the teens and below. However, that is not always possible. Here are some tips for outside pets.

Make sure the pet has a place to get out of the weather that has dry bedding and a wind block. The wind block can be boards or even straw bales that give the pet enough room to enter the house or a heavy cloth or rug covering the door. Bedding can be straw or cloth, but it must be dry.

“Dog houses should face south or southeast, because our cold winds are typically from the north or west,” Nelson said.

If the area of the dog house tends to get muddy, add gravel, wood chips or straw to keep your dog dry.

Also, Nelson recommends making sure your pet is in good condition before cold weather hits. That can mean a trip to the vet to check for parasites.

Outside cats should need a way to get out of the weather.

“Outside cats should have a way to get out of the weather, as well. If you open the garage door, don’t be surprised if you have other guests like raccoons or possums,” Nelson said.

In addition to warm shelter, pets need extra food -- a good nutritional pet food – to maintain their body temperatures. Water should be changed at least couple times a day in freezing temperatures.

Nelson also recommends checking your pet’s paws for ice which can build up between their pads and toes. Honking your car horn or banging on the hood can alert neighborhood cats sleeping on warm engine blocks to prevent them being the fan belt or radiator fan.

For more information, visit Jackson County Animal Control’s website at www.jacksoncounty-il.org. Click government to find Animal Control.

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Reporter

Marilyn Halstead is a reporter covering Williamson County.

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