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How to keep your pet safe in Western Montana’s bitterly cold weather

Dog In Snow
Posted at 8:22 AM, Dec 23, 2022
and last updated 2022-12-23 10:22:25-05

MISSOULA - Our pets feel the cold just like us, so there are some things you can do to keep them safe.

Hypothermia can affect dogs, just like humans, but it is harder to tell because symptoms are often hidden underneath fur.

Sentinel Animal Hospital emergency veterinarian Dr. Luke Anderson says it’s a good idea to get a good coat, boots and even ear covers for your dog when it is this cold.

Unless you have a breed that can sustain extremely low temperatures, limit outside time and keep an eye on them. If they seem lethargic, this may be a sign of hypothermia.

Dr. Anderson says to use alternative exercises, such as mentally stimulating toys, to keep them entertained. Additionally, be sure to check their paw pads for cuts from ice.

Overall, Dr. Anderson says if you’re too cold, your pet is likely too cold as well.

“If you’re uncomfortable, they’re probably a little more uncomfortable than you’d expect. Sometimes it’s wonderful because you have these breeds that can handle it well more than you’d ever imagine like huskies, sled dogs, sure they were bred for it for thousands of years, but most dogs are not. So, if you feel really, really cold, their paws also hurt on the ground."

People who are worried about their pet having hypothermia should contact their veterinarian.