Keeping humans and pets safe as life-threatening cold hits Montana

Staying safe Cold 2.jpg
Posted at 5:17 PM, Dec 21, 2022
and last updated 2022-12-21 19:17:19-05

BOZEMAN — As life-threatening temperatures are headed our way, experts say staying indoors will be key to staying safe.

With these cold temperatures, it's important to keep you and your pets safe as we endure some frigid temperatures.

“We have to be really aware that we can get frostbite within five to 10 minutes,” says Dr. Kristi Jackson at Billings Urgent Care.

It's important to be on the lookout for signs of frostbite and hypothermia.

“Be on the lookout for any numbness, tingling, pain, or skin discoloration,” says Jackson.

Doctors recommend multiple dry layers will be key in the next couple of days. If you are outside keep it to less than 10 minutes.

If you start experiencing the symptoms get inside as fast as possible, and if they last more than 30 minutes get medical attention.

“The first thing to do is to rewarm yourself or to get warm as soon as possible and that can include removing cold layers. And even running your hands and feet under warm water but not hot water,” says Jackson.

“Bodies covered-keep your head and your extremities covered. That's like the best thing we can do to keep ourselves safe as we go through this holiday week,” says Jackson.

It's also important to keep your four-legged friends safe as they also need to stay safe from the temperatures.

“Wearing protective booties for your dog that they'll tolerate that, just like we're subjected to frostbite and hypothermia, so our dogs and cats so just making sure that if they're outside for any reason, potty breaks, walks, etc, that they just limit the time outside,” says Kristin Sherwood, Volunteer and Outreach Manager at Heart of the Valley.

Keep an eye out for their paws as a sign of frostbite.

“If the dog or cat is licking their paws more than normal. If you notice that they're dry or cracking that's a sign to that there it's just a little too cold outside,” says Sherwood.

Sherwood also recommends wiping down your pet's paw pads to keep them safe from snow and ice.

Even though temperatures are taking a nosedive this week, don’t let your guard down the rest of winter. Jackson says that hypothermia can happen at temperatures of 40 degrees or lower.

“So we should be prepared for this pretty much all winter long in Montana,” says Jackson.

If you do experience prolonged periods of symptoms, Billings Clinic has Urgent care hours Monday - Friday, 8 AM - 7 PM. In extreme cases, they do recommend going to the Emergency Room.

Contact your vet with any concerns regarding your four-legged family members.