As temperatures remain well below the freezing mark, household pets are likely feeling the effects.
 
While different dog breeds vary in their tolerances to the snow and cold, they should only be out for moments in extreme conditions.
 
"If they're holding their paws up, limping or shivering, then they're too cold and they should be brought in," said Dana McGowan, a registered veterinary technologist at Emerald Hills Veterinary Clinic.
 
In particular, older dogs, puppies and short-haired dogs should have limited time outside without protection.
 
"The senior dogs may have diseases that alter their ability to regulate their own body temperature and the cold temperature can also be painful to dogs that have arthritis."
 
As such, those same dogs, as well as breeds that are low to the ground like a dachshund or a bassett hound, may benefit from wearing coats and boots.
 
"You just want to make sure that it's a proper fit and it's not uncomfortable for the dog — and not to allow the clothing to get damp or wet because then that can predispose them to hypothermia," McGowan explained. "With boots, if they're tolerant, those can protect them against the cold but also from the chemicals from ice melters, which can cause sore and cracked feet."
 
Ice melting products often contain either sodium chloride or calcium chloride, both of which can be harmful to animals. However, many pet stores carry non-toxic ice melters which are more ideal, according to McGowan.
 
"You just want to check the label to see because some of them will say they're gentle, but you just want to avoid ones that have the calcium or the sodium chloride," she added.
 
Cats should also be kept indoors during the winter, as they have a tendency to crawl up into the engines of vehicles to stay warm.
 
 

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