Keep your pets safe during these brutal temperatures, authorities warn

Hypothermia, dehydration, and even broken, bloody nails. These are just a few of the dangers out there right now for our furry family members as much of the state sits in this deep-freeze.

While many say it’s just common sense and compassion to keep pets in proper shelter during cold temperatures, it’s actually more than that. In fact, there are state laws in place to protect pets.

At dog parks across the Twin Cities, you’ll likely find bundled up pets and their humans braving the sub-zero wild chills.

The Minnesota Sheriffs Association recently posted reminders to pet owners, including the state law requiring pets of all species to have shelter suitable for the weather conditions.

“The moral of the story if it’s too cold for you to be out there for five minutes, then it’s too cold for them outside for hours,” Hennepin County Sheriff David Hutchinson said.

Sheriff Hutchinson said not sheltering your animals properly is at least a misdemeanor crime.

“Domestic dogs are not like wild animals, and they need shelter to survive,” he said.

Veterinarian Dr. Lauren Cunningham said your pet's shelter should at least be lifted off the ground on a pallet and egg foam material with proper insulation inside such as wood chips with a thick blanket and straw.

“What that law is asking you to do is provide the same kind of care you would provide to another member of your family,” Cunningham said. “If you can’t provide good shelter, bring them in.”

Beyla, a four-year-old dog, recently came across another cold-related risk out there. Her owner Melissa Martz said the ice in her yard likely busted her dog’s nail.

“The next thing I know she’s licking her paw, and I stand up and there’s blood all over the floor,” Martz said. “They had to sedate her and cut it back far enough that it may not grow back.".

Beyla’s now recovering from her weather-related injury as law enforcement agencies across Minnesota work to remind us all of the deadly consequences of not properly sheltering pets.