For dairy cows, Cerosaletti said, the fluctuation of temperatures is a greater issue than the cold because the changes can lead to stress and illnesses, such as respiratory diseases. To protect cows, farmers will monitor the barn environment to provide good ventilation, he said.
Dairy farmer David Galley of Garrattsville said his cows are in a barn year-round, and calves stay warm in deep piles of straw bedding in hutches. Feed is kept in a bunker silo, he said, and freezing equipment is a winter-weather concern at the farm that has about 170 head.
"We’ve got a stanchion barn that cows are in all the time,’’ Galley said. "I’m the one who has to go in the cold and feed them.’’
At the Delaware Valley Humane Society in Sidney, dogs are given extra bedding to reduce drafts on the cold floor, kennel worker Dorothy Crawford said, and the shelter is in constant need of extra blankets for bedding.
The shelter has about 20 dogs, Crawford said, and they have mixed reactions to the cold.
"The smaller dogs don’t like it,’’ she said. "Others would rather be out in it.’’
However, in bitter cold temperatures, exercise times are shortened, she said, especially for small, short-haired dogs. Some dogs wear coats to stay warm and need other protections in winter.
The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals issued tips for keeping dogs safe in the winter. Dogs shouldn’t be left in cars because temperatures drop quickly, a media release said. Dogs need a bed, pillow or blanket in a place off the floor to sleep, and pet owners should consider dressing short-haired dogs in a coat or sweater with a high collar.
Louise Murray, vice president of the ASPCA’s Bergh Memorial Animal Hospital in Manhattan, said walking a dog on a leash is especially important in the winter because dogs can lose their scent and easily become lost in a snowstorm.