Officials urge people to keep their pets safe from the cold

LANSING, Mich (WLNS) – Cheryl Rice has two dogs – Trolley and Taxi – who love to play outside. But when the temperature drops during wintertime, Rice says it’s easy to know when to bring them in.

“You have to use your common sense,” Rice said. “If it’s too cold for you to stand outside for more than a few minutes, it’s too cold for your dogs too.”

But Julia Willson of the Capital Area Humane Society in Lansing says sometimes even common sense isn’t enough.

“It’s very surprising how quickly the temperatures can affect our pets,” Willson said. Just like people, um, they’re just as susceptible, especially little guys like this that don’t have much of a coat. But even with a coat, the temperatures are still very dangerous.”

Willson says it’s important to take your dogs out for exercise, but you shouldn’t take them out for more than just a few minutes.

Willson says animal safety becomes an issue when temps go below 20 degrees.

And according to one leading animal hospital, when it does get that cold, animals – just like humans – can get frostbite.

Other ways to protect your pets include giving them extra food, making sure their water doesn’t freeze and cleaning their paws after they go outside.

But Willson says if people aren’t able to take care of their pets, they should reach out to local animal shelters.

“We want to hear before that people are struggling to provide for their pets and get them the help they need so that we can keep our pets safe during these horrible temperatures,” Willson said.

And Rice says it’s more than just a duty.

“We consider them part of the family and we wouldn’t want to put them in any kind of a danger that um where they might be hurt,” Rice said.

A part of the family – hopefully staying warm this winter season.

Another way you can help? Experts say if you see a pet being kept outside in the cold, speak up and contact your local authorities.

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