By Jessica Mathews /

Although the bitter cold snap has ended, officials say pets and livestock are still very much at risk and it’s critical that owners provide appropriate protection for them during the frigid winter months.

The latest “Fresh from the Field” podcast from the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development features Veterinarian Michele Schalow, a program manager in MDARD’s Animal Industry Division. Dr. Schalow offered various tips for protecting pets and animals when temperatures drop. She commented that the biggest concerns are frostbite and hypothermia; and just like us, they are subject to the cold – adding “just because they have fur, that doesn’t mean they can’t get too cold.”

For pets in particular, Schalow says try to limit their time outside—just enough to go to the bathroom and get a little exercise. For animals with short coats, she said owners may want to consider putting clothing on them if they’ll tolerate it—which should be something that fits them well but doesn’t have anything loose that could get caught. With horses, Schalow recommends putting a blanket on them but to check under the blanket to make sure their bodies are in good condition as they can lose weight in the wintertime.

Schalow also discussed emergency preparation, proper care of pet’s feet, appropriate bedding, winter nutrition, and other potential hazards and safeguards. A link to the full podcast is available through the provided link.