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Keeping Animals Safe In The Cold

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The cold weather affects just about everything, but how does it affect our furry friends?

With the below freezing temperatures across the Sioux Empire, animals, just like people are struggling with the cold too.

“A lot of people think that just because animals have fur, they are going to be warm outside,” said Dr. Michelle Baha, Sioux Nation Pet Clinic.

Baha said don’t let that fur fool you.

“The cold, just like its hard on us, its hard on them as well,” said Baha.

Baha explains that animals are very similar to people when it comes to colder temps.

“If they say don’t stay out for more then ten minutes, you have to think well I cant keep my animal out that same length of time,” explained Baha.

And for outdoor animals, the biggest thing to remember is that they need to stay hydrated.
“Especially farm animals, like outdoor cats, make sure they have access to water that hasn’t froze over,” said Baha.

"The older I get the more sorry I feel for them, so I put sheds up for them,” said Deb McGuire, owner of Performance Plus Arabians.

McGuire is doing her best to keep her horses warm. But unlike other animals, McGuire said horses can handle the cold very well. They just need to eat 18 hours each day.
“The gasses in their stomach’s is what keeps them warm, from eating hay,” said McGuire. “So if they aren't burying their head in the hay, they are standing behind the shed over there so they don’t get too cold.”

They also wear windbreakers to keep their ears from getting frostbite.

And as for water… “We have electric thermostats in them so they stay open all the time,” said McGuire.

But the best piece of advice to keep our furry friends safe is to use common sense.

“When you go outside think, 'hey what am I going to do out here, what precautions should I take to be safe in the cold weather,' and then use that towards your animal,” said Baha.  

Veterinarians also said people need to be checking their pets paws in the winter. Vets said they’ve seen a lot of dogs come in with dried and cracked paws from walking on salt.
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