Tips on keeping your pets safe this cold winter

Published: Jan. 14, 2016 at 8:17 AM CST
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If it's too cold for you to be outside, it's typically too cold for your dog too. As you get ready for the winter, you'll need to prep your pets too.

It's not easy to be cooped up all day, but with temperatures in the teens and single digits, it's not a good idea to take your dogs or cats out either.

Dr. Jaime Gifford, a Veterinarian at the Wausau Animal Hospital says there's a common misconception.

"A lot of people think that because they have fur they're fine but that's not actually the case," Gifford said.

The Veterinarian also suggests getting your dog booties and a sweater, even if it's just to go to outside for the bathroom.

If your dog doesn't like booties, than use a cream afterwards to prevent their paws from cracking. If you have extra furry pets there's other concerns.

"Some of these guys that are fluffier have fur between their toes," Dr. Gifford said. "They will literally develop little ice snowballs in between because it sticks to their fur."

Many people don't like to sit home all day, and neither do dogs. Mike Fink recently opened Playful Paws LCC in Weston. The training and day care program could help the dog with the winter blues.

Fink said, "people bring them in once a week maybe to help them reduce anxiety get rid of some energy."

There's some things to do at home too. He advises taking treats and playing hide and seek in the house. But, a good way to get out of the house is to take them with you in the car to the pet store. But, make sure you bring them in with you, you shouldn't leave your dog in a cold car.

Dr. Gifford also suggests getting a slow feeder bowl. It will take them about 25-30 minutes to eat breakfast or dinner, which would help the dogs be more active in a small space.

Here's some more tips from the ASPCA:

1. Bathe your pets as little as possible during cold spells, but use wipes or a dry towel to remove salt or chemicals from outside.

2. Feeding your pet a little bit more during the cold weather months.

3. Be cautious of antifreeze, this tastes good to pets and if eaten or licked could cause fatal kidney failure.

If you have cats that like to go outside, keep them in your home for the next few months. Cat ears are prone to get frostbite in these cold temperatures. Dr. Gifford said she has seen cats having to get the tips of their ears cut off due to frostbite.