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Take extra precaution for pets in extreme cold temps.

Placing your pets in an enclosed, heated shelter or inside is critical in extremely cold weather, according to the Albert Lea Police Department.

Temperatures are expected to reach 4 below zero Friday night, according to the National Weather Service. A high temperature of 1 degree is expected Saturday with a low temperature of 17 below zero. The high temperature Sunday is expected to be 5 below.

“Be extra watchful when you let them out,” said Albert Lea Director of Public Safety Dwaine Winkels. “We recommend the dogs be placed inside when the weather’s that extreme.”

Dwaine Winkels

Dwaine Winkels

Winkels said an ordinance is in place in Albert Lea requiring pets to have adequate shelter and heating. Breaking the ordinance can result in a cruelty to animals charge or a fine.

He advised housing animals in an enclosed, heated shelter if they are not inside.

Winkels said small dogs are exceptionally vulnerable in the cold.

He advised making sure an outdoor kennel is out of the wind and has a heating source before placing a pet in it.

He said the Police Department gets complaints of dogs being left outside too long and noted that frostbite is possible for animals.

The American Society for the Protection and Care of Animals offers several tips for taking care of your pets in the wintertime, including:

• Keep your home humidified and towel dry your pet as soon as he or she comes inside

• Never shave your dog down to the skin in winter

• Bring a towel on long walks to clean off stinging, irritated paws

• Bathe your pets as little as possible during cold spells

• Massage petroleum jelly or other paw protectants into paw pads before going outside

• Feed your pet a little bit more during the cold weather months

• Clean antifreeze spills to prevent poisoning your pets

• Make sure your pet has a warm place to sleep, off the floor and away from drafts.

About Sam Wilmes

Sam Wilmes covers crime, courts and government for the Albert Lea Tribune.

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