With southern Minnesotans facing sixty or more straight hours of below-zero temps, its important to remember to keep our furry friends safe and warm.

According to the Animal Humane Society, temperatures below zero along with wind chill can be dangerous, even deadly, for our domesticated pets.

Though we often hear of the dangers of leaving dogs in cars during summer months, winter can be just as dangerous.

AHS Recommendations for Safe Pets in Below-Zero Weather

  • During below-zero weather, dogs should be let out only to relieve themselves. Cats should be kept indoors at all times.
  • Remove ice, salt and caked mud from your pet's paws and coat.
  • Before walks, put paw wax or doggie shoes on your dogs' paws for protection from from sidewalk salt and chemicals; wipe wax or balm off when back inside.
  • Make sure your pet’s bed is not on the floor in a cold or drafty area of your home.
  • Indoor dogs typically receive less exercise during cold weather and therefore may require fewer calories. You may want to consider feeding them smaller portions in order to avoid weight gain. You should also look for ways to keep them busy by providing enrichment through indoor activities.

The AHS Says, Keep Your Pets Safe Outside in the Winter

  • Minnesota state law governs all companion animals be provided shelter from the elements. In severe weather, allow your pet to be in your house or garage.
  • Outdoor pets typically need more food in cold weather because they must burn more calories to keep warm.
  • Check for frostbite, especially on paws and ears.
  • Your pet should always have access to clean drinking water. Make sure it doesn't freeze!
  • Keep an eye out for and clean up all antifreeze spills — one lick of the sweet-tasting fluid can be fatal to an animal.
  • Cats have been known to climb onto vehicle engines or inside wheel wells for warmth. Knock on the hood of your car before starting the engine if you're parked outdoors and suspect a cat could be hiding in your wheel wells are under the hood.

Stay warm. Stay safe. Think pets!

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