Keeping your pets safe from the bitter cold

MASON, Mich. (WLNS) – As temperatures begin to settle into the single digits this week and next, being outdoors can get dangerous for you and your furry friends.

Michigan law doesn’t require you to keep your pet indoors, it only requires that you provide proper food, wather and shelter.

However, Ingham County Animal Control Director John Dinon says even for the most outdoorsy pets, these cold temperatures can begin to become dangerous.

“Pets can get frostbite, particularly on their ears and on their nose,” Dinon said. “If they’re smaller pets or short-haired pets they can actually get hypothermia where their body temperature drops. Both of those are very dangerous.”

If you plan on keeping your pets outside this winter it’s important they have a place to get out of the wind and stay dry.

For this, a dog house does the trick. Just make sure to put straw bedding inside of it, and don’t rely on snow as a source of water for your pet.

“They’ll only do that if they’re really, really thirsty and that’s going to lower their body temperature,” Dinon said. “So, hoping that your pet will get enough water from snow is not adequate, you need to give them unfrozen water. So, either change that water frequently, or give them a heated water bowl.”

There are also some thing that go with winter weather you may not know are bad for your furry friends.

“Now, people are using salt to melt ice and that gets on your pets feet. Both can be hard on their feet and when they lick it off it can cause digestive problems,” Dinon said. “So, when you bring your pets in you’ll want to wipe their feet off, and if you’re using salt, get pet friendly salt.”

Dinon also says you should be careful if you’re changing the anti-freeze in your car because the chemical will taste sweet, but is extremely poisonous to your pets.

For those who keep their pets outside during the winter months, the Ingham County Animal Shelter offers free dog houses for Ingham County Residents.

People can come pick up a house at the shelter in Mason, or at the Outreach Center, located of Saginaw. All people have to do is show proof they live in Ingham County.

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