Keeping your pets warm and safe in the bitter cold
Tis the time of year for holiday shopping, and that's when our furry friends get the spoils of the season, too. Among the treats and toys, cold weather apparel.
"We live in a cold climate, and we all want our furry friends to be comfortable during the winter," said Lori Bearjar, owner of Katzenbarkers in Wausau.
That brings in big business for pet stores, just like hers.
"Coats and boots are a big part of our business," Bearjar said. "Some with hoods, some with legs attached."
They come in all sizes and fashions. But more importantly than a fashion statement, the apparel protects your pet from the elements.
"As much as you don't want to be spending time outside, they don't want to. Ears are very vulnerable to frostbite. They can get hypothermia the same as people do," explained Ashlee Bishop, the Marathon County humane officer.
If your dog stays strictly outdoors, Bishop said to provide a shelter with four walls and a roof -- insulated if possible -- replace blankets with hay or straw, and make sure they have fresh water at all times.
"You're going to have to have a heated water dish outside," Bishop said.
Some tell tale danger signs is when the snow penetrates its fur and melts. Paw raising is also a sign it's too cold.
"If they don't want to keep their paws on the ground, that's a very good indication of it being too cold."
When going for a walk, Bishop said to train them to wear booties if possible.
"Otherwise, every time you take them out for a walk, when you bring them back in wash their paws off with a warm washcloth to get that salt off so they don't lick it, because it can be poisonous."
Bishop said she does get calls about concerns of pets outside in the cold, but to keep in mind there are some breeds that are built for the cold, like Siberian Huskies, Alaskan Malamutes and Newfoundlands.