The polar vortex that is sweeping the nation has caused school closings, at least eight deaths, and the post office in 11 states is cancelled for mail delivery due to safety concerns.
Here locally, school is cancelled for the area’s largest school district. Officials with the Utica City School District say they cancelled school because they have so many students who walk to school.
Dr. Abby Regner, Medical director of the New Hartford Animal Hospital Animal experts say if it’s too cold for you to be outside, that mean it’s just as cold for your pets.
"Dogs are able to certainly tolerate colder weather outside longer than we are because they are built to thermal-regulate themselves,” Regner said. “But that again has to be taken into account with how cold it is out and how long they are staying outside so, when we’re talking negatives it’s just long enough to go outside and do their thing and then they should be coming right back inside."
Regner says ice can cause injuries to your pet’s paws such as cracking and bleeding.
"Especially really furry dogs like golden retrievers and newfoundland’s that have a lot of fur in between their paw pads. It’s really easy for the snow to get built up and kind of burn the skin so when they come inside, just have a little bowl of warm water. Have them step in it and that will help create that ice from building up and kind of sitting on the skin," said Regner.
Regner also says that even your pet’s paws could be sensitive to the salt that you put on the ground.
"It creates a chemical reaction that allows the ice to melt and so when your pet steps on the salt de-icer it also creates a chemical reaction on their skin,” Regner said. “It can cause really severe burns so, they do make pet-safe de-icer and that you won’t have to worry about. It’s worth the extra money."