In response to the extreme cold temperatures forecast this week, officials are reminding animal owners to take precautions to protect their pets and livestock.

Dr. Nora Wineland, State Veterinarian for the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD), says both pets and livestock are affected by the cold and dangerous conditions, adding it’s imperative that owners take the extra steps necessary to ensure the health and safety of their animals.

Dr. Wineland reminds that “Michigan law requires owners provide an adequate supply of feed and water for their animals, shelter from the wind and other severe conditions.” Dogs, cats, and other companion animals living inside homes may not be able to tolerate this week’s outdoor winter temperatures for long periods of time. Dr. Wineland notes that guardian dogs and barn cats that live outside still need dry, clean, enclosed spaces that help retain body heat.

For companion animals and livestock, MDARD recommends keeping anti-freeze and de-icing chemicals away as they are toxic to animals, increasing feed to help animals stay warm, and providing shelter and clean water that is not frozen.