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Dog in Snowy WeatherWinter weather is here. Not only do you need to prepare for the cold weather for yourself, but you also need to take precautions for your pet. The following article has tips to prepare your pet for this cold season.

Protect Your Pet's Skin

Cold weather can bring dry air, which can cause your pet's skin to become dry and flaky. To keep their skin healthy, use a humidifier in your house. When your pet comes in from outside, be sure to dry their coat and paws off thoroughly. When a bath is needed, be sure to use a shampoo and conditioner that will add moisture to their coat.

To avoid hypothermia, be sure that pets are completely dry before allowing them outside. If a towel isn't enough you can use a hair dryer on the lowest heat setting so the skin does not get burned.

Keep Pets Away from Space Heaters and Fireplaces

Space heaters and fireplaces are frequently used to help keep rooms in the house a little warmer. Make sure pets are at a safe distance from the fireplace to avoid burns since fireplaces can send out sparks and embers. Pets should also be kept a safe distance from any space heaters to avoid any burns caused by contact.

Store Anti-freeze in a Safe Place

The sweet taste of some types of anti-freeze can be very tempting for animals to drink, however as little as a teaspoon can be poisonous. When adding anti-freeze to your vehicle, keep your pet in the house and be sure to clean up any spills immediately. Keep any extra stored in a safe place that pets cannot reach. You may also want to consider using a pet-safe anti-freeze that tastes bitter, so that pets will be less tempted to drink it.

Use Pet-Safe Melting Salt

Melting salts can contain sodium chloride or potassium chloride, which can cause irritations to the bottom of the paws. Consider using pet-safe melting salts that do not contain chloride, but since others may use salts containing chloride it is a good idea to wipe your pet's paws after walking them to remove any salt.

Limit Time Outside in the Cold

Many pets enjoy playing outside in the snow, but limiting time outside in cold weather is important. Extreme cold temperatures can cause frostbite on the pads of you pet's paws in just 5-10 minutes.

Hypothermia can also occur at any temperature lower than your body temperature. Factors like body fat, age, and especially wetness can affect how long it takes for hypothermia to occur.

For these reasons, it is important to limit your pet's time outside and be sure that pets are dried completely before going outside and dried again when brought back into the house.

Adding layers such as boots and a coat can give your pet more protection and allow them to be out for a longer period of time. If your pet spends longer time periods outside you should also increase the calories in your pet's diet.

If your pet must be outside for an extended period of time, make sure they have access to an area that is protected from the wind and cold. Fresh water that is not frozen and extra bedding should be provided to keep your pet warm and hydrated.

Watch for Ice When Walking Pets Outside

When walking your pet outside in the cold, make sure to watch out for ice. Not only can you slip and fall, but your pet's legs can splay out and cause injury. Consider walking in the grass to decrease your chance of slipping and also limit your walks when there is ice and snow on the ground.

Car Safety

During cold weather, outdoor cats may sleep on engine blocks or in wheel wells of your vehicle to keep warm. Be sure to make loud noises before starting your car in the morning to alert sleeping cats. If you have to take your pet with you, keep in mind that just as cars in hot weather feel like an oven, cars in cold weather can feel like a refrigerator. Remember to never leave your pet in the car unattended while doing errands.