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Cold weather safety tips for pet owners
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Cold weather safety tips for pet owners

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With a bone-chilling forecast, the American Veterinary Medical Association reminds pet owners that a fur coat is not enough to fend off brutal temperatures.

“Most pet owners seem to worry about their pets overheating in the summer, but tend to overlook the dangers of cold weather. Their fur coats don’t always provide the necessary protection from the cold, particularly for small animals ...,” said Dr. Douglas G. Aspros, past president of the AVMA.

He urged pet owners to watch for signs of cold stress including whining, shivering, anxiety, weakness, slowing down.

First and foremost, he said, owners should bring pets inside during cold weather.

Tips for keeping pets warm and safe:

* Protect their feet; ice and icy crust on top of snow can cause cut their paws.

* Watch pets around frozen lakes and rivers and slippery staircases, which pose risks for injuries.

* Make sure cats and other animals haven't crawled inside the engine compartment before starting the car.

* Never leave a pet in a cold car.

* Modify outdoor housing to provide shelter from the wind. Make sure outdoor shelters are be off the ground, bedding is thick and dry and water is fresh and not frozen. Avoid space heaters and heat lamps, which pose a fire risk.

* Keep your dog active, but avoid overdoing it in extreme temperatures.

* Use pet-safe deicers.

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