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Why it's important to keep pets and children safe from the cold this weekend

1-year-old Zeke was brought into the Animal Humane Society with severe frostbite around Christmas. More than six weeks later, doctors say he is still recovering.

MINNEAPOLIS — One-year-old Zeke learned the hard way how dangerous Minnesota winters can be.

"He had frostbite on all four paw pads and his ear tips,” veterinarian Dr. Angelica Dimock says.

Zeke was brought into the Animal Humane Society in Woodbury around Christmas and is finally recovering from his injuries.

Dimock says cats like Zeke are brought into the shelter all the time with frostbite injuries.

She says frostbite can take weeks or months for pets to recover from, and it's incredibly painful.

"Even if they don't get frostbite they can still crack and get super dry and open up and become really painful. So, monitoring your dogs and cats paw pads during these cold snaps is a good idea," Dimock says.

In temps like these, Dimock recommends only quick trips outside to go to the bathroom and maybe a short walk, but only if you protect your pet's feet.

RELATED: WEATHER: Polar plunge, frigid wind chill this weekend

Doctors also recommend keeping your kids inside when the temps are this cold.

"Really any wind chill less than negative 15 degrees is not a place where kids should be,” Hennepin Healthcare pediatrician Dr. Krishnan Subrahmanian says.

And we saw temps colder than that this weekend.

When it's that cold, frostbite can happen in less than ten minutes.

Symptoms include red or pale skin, numbness, muscle stiffness and blistering in severe cases.

In cold like this, even a simple drive to the grocery store can be dangerous if your car breaks down.

Here's what AAA says you should put in your car, just to be safe:

  • A good set of jumper cables
  • First aid kit
  • Food and water
  • Blankets and warm clothes.
  • Flashlight.
  • Kitty litter to help you get traction.

And before your Monday morning commute, if you haven't taken the car out all weekend, AAA recommends taking a short drive Sunday night to charge your battery so it's ready to go for the cold week ahead.

And if you’re looking for a new cat to join your family, Zeke is now up for adoption, just check out the Animal Humane Society’s website.

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