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Protecting your pets in frigid temperatures

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Posted at 8:23 AM, Dec 29, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-29 10:23:34-05

BILLINGS — Like humans, animals are vulnerable to the winter weather. Unlike humans, your pets don’t know if it’s too cold outside.

Dr. Edie Best at Billings Animal Family Hospital has seen what the cold can do to pets.

“You know we see, rarely but sometimes, like frostbite, tips of the ears, sometimes feet,” said Best.

It’s not just the cold that can harm your pet either.

“We saw a lot of, sometimes, irritated pads from snowballs getting stuck in their, frozen, pads from being out, and sore feet sometimes from the salt from the road,” Best said.

Best says that limiting pet time outside will prevent your animal from getting hypothermia, frostbite, or sore feet from road salt.

“Biggest thing is water, making sure they have thawed water and then shelter from the wind,” Best said.

If you see an animal in distress, Yellowstone Valley Animal Shelter Executive Director Triniti Chavez recommends calling animal control. There are two departments in the city of Billings, Billings Police Department Animal Control as well as Yellowstone County Animal Control.

Chavez sees about 50 to 60 animals dropped off at her shelter during the winter season. There are steps you can take to prevent your animals from getting lost.

“Obviously spaying and neutering your animals makes a difference cause they’re not off looking for a mate,” Chavez said.

Pets will often go out on their own, so it’s important to have a way to identify them.

“We just always tell people microchip and ID tag your pets,” Chavez said.

This allows pedestrians or animal shelters to be able to identify your pet and get it back to you as quickly as possible.