Over much of the country during the last few weeks, we've been experiencing severe winter conditions, dangerously low temperatures, both for us and it turns out for our hunting dogs, too. If it's unsafe for humans to be outside, it's pretty much unsafe for hunting dogs to get outside. Dr. Autumn Unk is a U.S. Department of Agriculture animal care veterinarian stationed in Omaha, Nebraska. When we talked with her a few days ago, they were having a heat wave, I think you would call it. Last week was the first day it was above zero in I think over a week and a half. Oh, bad enough for us, but for hunting dogs, even worse, she says, dogs and cats can and do suffer frostbite and hypothermia and even die in severe cold. It's very common. And if you normally keep your dog or cat outside for long periods of time and if the temps are far below normal, then at the very least, she says they should have a draft free shelter that is large enough for them to stand and turn around, but small enough for them to retain their body heat. You also want to use a layer of straw or other bedding material to help insulate them against the cold and make sure that the entrance to the shelter is facing away from the incoming wind and snow. Also very important. You want to make sure that pets have access to fresh water at all times, whether that's inside or out. And if they are outside with a water bottle, you want to make sure that the heated water bottle and if you don't have a heated water bottle, you want to go out there and check that the water is not frozen over because it'll freeze over with this cold weather. So just refresh it as often as you think about it. So they do need access to fresh water, but even so, with a shelter and water, Dr. Unk says an unusually severe cold conditions. It is best to find a way to bring them inside. But cold temperatures are not the only problem in the winter. Dr. Oakes has sometimes just letting your dog or cat go out for a short time for a quick walk or such.