Tips to keep your pet safe from the bitter cold



Baltimore (WMAR) -- If you have been outside these last couple weeks you understand how 'ruff' it is out there! But you are not the only one affected by the cold, your furry friends need to stay warm too!

Here are a couple tips from the Baltimore Humane Society for pet owners:

1. Bring your pets in! If it is too cold for you, it is too cold for your pet to stay outside for long periods of time. If you have outdoor cats or care for feral cats, check out this site on how to make a kitty enclosure.

2. Dogs with short coats should wear a jacket! Breeds that do not have an undercoat (dogs with undercoats are breeds like shepherds, huskies, malamutes, retrievers) can get cold quickly.

3. Keep off of road salt. Not only is it toxic if your pet ingests it, it can be very irritating and even painful to their paw pads. 4. Wipe your pet's paws off with a lukewarm washrag to remove any melting salt so they do not ingest it when they groom themselves.

5. Consider applying a barrier to your pet's paws like petroleum jelly to protect their paws while out on a walk.

6. Keep your pet's coat appropriately groomed. A healthy coat will work most efficiently in keeping warmth on the body and cold away.

7. Anti-freeze is extremely poisonous and also tempting to pets due to its sweet taste. If you have it in your garage make sure it is kept up high in a leak-proof container. Clean up any that might drip from equipment that uses it. If you believe your pet ingested anti-freeze, get them to a veterinarian immediately!

8. Pets exposed to cold temperatures for long periods of time can experience hypothermia. Signs of hypothermia include low body temperature, low heart rate, low respiration (breathing), violent shivering, and their gums may turn pale or blue. If you believe your pet is experiencing hypothermia, warm them slowly to avoid shock, and get them to a full-service vet immediately.

9. Less time outside may mean a bored pet. Increase your animal's indoor enrichment! Frozen kongs, food puzzles, and training games all provide mental exercise to tire out a pet who can't get outdoors. 10. Cuddle up! Cold weather is the perfect time to spend snuggling and playing with your pet.

The Humane Society also provided these tips for pets that are not your own:

Warm engines in parked cars attract cats and small wildlife, who may crawl up under the hood. To avoid injuring any hidden animals, bang on your car's hood to scare them away before starting your engine.

Speak out if you see a pet left in the cold. Here’s advice from the Humane Society of the United States on how to handle the situation when you see a pet left in the cold. First politely let the owner know you're concerned. If they don't respond well, document what you see: the date, time, exact location and type of animal, plus as many details as possible. Video and photographic documentation will help bolster your case. Then contact your local animal control agency or county sheriff's office and present your evidence. Take detailed notes regarding whom you speak with and when. Respectfully follow up in a few days if the situation has not been remedied.

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