Keep pets and animals safe during cold weather

"The cold never bothered me anyway." -Elsa
"Dude, it's freezing out there!" -Your Dog

For immediate release: February 17, 2021
Media contact: Jessy Sielski, 517-331-1151

LANSING, MI - The cold may not have bothered Elsa, but pets and livestock are very much at risk in cold weather. It is critical that owners provide appropriate protection for them during these frigid winter months. That is the key message in one of the latest "Fresh from the Field" podcasts from the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD).

"The biggest concerns are frostbite and hypothermia; and just like us, they are subject to the cold," said Michele Schalow, DVM, a program manager in MDARD's Animal Industry Division. "Just because they have fur, that doesn't mean they can't get too cold."

During the podcast, Dr. Schalow offers several important tips for protecting pets and animals when temperatures drop.

"For pets in particular, try to limit their time outside-just enough to go to the bathroom and get a little exercise," she said. "For animals with short coats, you may want to consider putting clothing on them, if they will tolerate it-something that fits them well and doesn't have anything loose that could get caught. With horses, you'll want to blanket them, but check under the blanket to make sure their bodies are in good condition. They can lose weight in the wintertime."

Dr. Schalow also discusses emergency preparation, proper care of pet's feet, appropriate bedding, winter nutrition, and many other potential hazards and safeguards.

Listen to the "Pet & Animal Safety During Cold Weather" edition of the podcast series.

Overall, MDARD's "Fresh from the Field" podcast series offers insights into some of the state's hottest topics in food and agriculture, as well as other issues of interest to Michigan's consumers and industry stakeholders. The series can be found on Anchor, Breaker, Google Podcast, Overcast, Pocket Casts, Radio Public, Spotify, Apple Podcast, and YouTube.

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