Keeping Pets Safe in Extreme Weather

SIOUX FALLS, S.D.- When it gets colder out, it affects everyone including pets. Although dogs have fur, they’re still vulnerable to hypothermia and frostbite if left outside. This is why in South Dakota leaving a pet outside in the cold without proper shelter is considered neglect and is against the law. KDLT’s Miranda Paige found out what owners should do to help their furry friends make it through the winter safely.

As it gets colder out, Sioux Falls Animal Control gets busier with more calls

“People a lot of times are just concerned for neighborhood pets that they might see that are normally out. However they’re not sure that they have access to appropriate shelter,” said Missy John, Animal Control Officer for the Sioux Falls Police Department.

When there’s extreme weather John says it’s important to think about your pets well being.

“It’s better to be safe and bring your pets inside even if they’re normally an outside pet,” said John.

However, some dogs love the cold. While you shouldn’t leave pets outside for a long period of time, Missy says it’s okay to make a trip to the dog park. Steve Reemts Braves the cold for his Husky-mix Kaisha to get some exercise.

“This is where she thrives. She really enjoys the outdoors and being outdoors and this is a great place to bring her to interact with other dogs too,” said Reemts.

He lets Kaisha decide how long they stay.

“You develop a good rapport after 13 years and she lets me know when she’s ready and I’ve learned to trust her instincts more than my own,” said Reemts.

Shelly Baker has gotten use to the cold thanks to her hyper Goldendoodle, Brutus.

“As you can tell, he has a lot of energy and runs around all the time, so it’s just a good way for him to burn off some energy, so he doesn’t drive me crazy at home,” said Baker.

When it’s cold they don’t stay longer than thirty minutes. Once they get to the car, Baker  makes sure Brutus warms up.

“Brush him off and I then I have a towel that I wipe him down to get the snow off as soon as possible, so it helps him so he doesn’t get any matts on his skin and then try to get the cold off as soon as possible,” said Baker.

For Reemts and Baker, their dogs are like family. They both agree that their pets safety is what’s most important.

Sioux Falls Animal Control says if you have to leave your dogs outside in the yard for a period of time make sure they have appropriate shelter. It should be a dry area that shields them from the weather. They should also have access to food and water.

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