HELENA – The Lewis and Clark Humane Society are cautioning pet owners about having their animals outside for an extended period in the brutally cold weather.
Shelter staff say even hearty breeds like huskies will need to come in after 5 minutes in subzero temperatures.
At the shelter, staff and volunteers take the dogs on a lot of short walks throughout the day.
Dog Program Coordinator Kat Martineau said some of their pups will only take a few steps, pee and start picking up their paws.
“You need to watch your dogs for sure,” said Martineau, “They will tell you when they’re ready to come inside.”
Staff say pet owners should always keep an eye on their pet while in the bitter cold and try to do an much indoor enrichment for them as possible.
Stuffed kongs, tug of war and puzzle toys are great at keeping the animals mentally engaged when working their mouth.
Martineau also recommends taking the time to work on dog training such as obedience and tricks.
“It will get them mentally stimulated and physically stimulated in a small area. So obviously you can’t go out and play fetch but if you teach your dogs things like spin or hide and seek or different things like that it kind of get them moving indoors,” said Martineau.
There are currently 20 animals available for adoption at the Humane Society.
The main shelter office is temporarily closed due to construction but people can still make an appointment to see any animal listed as available on their website.