The recent arctic blasts can create hazardous situations and local residents are being encouraged to take appropriate steps to stay safe during the extremely cold and potentially life-threatening temperatures. The same goes for pets.

Just because animals have a fur coat, doesn’t mean they’re immune to the bitter cold and can suffer from hypothermia, frostbite and other cold weather injuries. Livingston County Animal Control Director Aimee Orn says when it comes to the extreme cold, if people see something concerning they should not hesitate to call. Orn says there is no law requiring people to bring their dog or pets inside but they can educate people on the proper way to do it, although it’s not ideal when it’s this cold.

Orn says they tend to see frostbite issues with paw pads being exposed, but also on the tips of ears and noses. She says pets that normally live indoors should be let out to go the bathroom and brought back in as soon as possible. For dogs or animals that live outdoors, Orn advises bringing them inside some type of facility such as a barn or garage when it gets this bitter cold to provide extra shelter. If that is not possible, she says a proper dog house should be properly insulated with straw, along with extra bales of straw around it. Orn says there are concerns with the feral cat population. For those taking care of a feral colony of cats, she says they too should have proper shelter set up. Outside animals should also be provided with a heated water dish so it doesn’t freeze. (JM)