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Dog Days of Winter

Even fur coats can’t keep pets warm

Baby, it’s cold outside. These record low temperatures are hard on all of us, people and pets. Puppies, kittens and shorthaired animals are especially vulnerable in cold weather.
    Keep your pets inside except for quick bathroom breaks. Both dogs and cats can get frostbite. Ears, tails and footpads are most susceptible.
    Outdoor cats may seek shelter near warm car engines and sleep under the hoods. When the engine starts, the fan belt can injure or kill a cat. If outdoor cats roam your neighborhood, make noise and bang on your car hood before starting the engine to let the cat escape.
    Don’t let dogs off-leash in the snow or ice lest they become disoriented. More dogs are lost in winter than any other season.
    When your dog comes in from a walk in the sleet, snow or ice, wipe down its legs and stomach. Dogs can ingest salt or chemicals when grooming. Paw pads can also crack and bleed from snow or encrusted ice.
    Never leave your dog unattended in the car. Fur coats don’t mean dogs can tolerate near-arctic temperatures. A car holds the cold just like a refrigerator; your pet could freeze to death.
    Damp and cold weather can aggravate arthritis in dogs and cats just as in humans.
    Canine clothing can help keep your dog warm. Small or toy dogs, dogs with short hair and old or sick dogs are especially susceptible to cold. One of the warning signs of a cold dog is shivering. Dog jackets, snuggies and sweaters will keep the shivers away.
    Antifreeze is poison for pets. Clean up any spills and consider using products that contain propylene glycol instead of ethylene glycol.
    Ice melts can be hazardous for pets, too. Morton Safe-T-Pet was developed with veterinarians to be safer for furry friends. Its salt- and chloride-free formula won’t irritate pets’ paws or stomach.
    Even inside, pets can get cold. Offer a warm place to sleep that’s off the floor and away from drafts. A comfortable pet bed with a blanket is pet-perfect.