How to keep your furry friends cozy during these Antarctica-like temperatures

As temperatures in the Midwest plunge into dangerous digits, we have a few tips on how to keep your furry friends safe.

The Animal Humane Society recommends you limit having your pets outside for an extended periods of time as temperatures below freezing paired with wind chill can be fatal for our pets.

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The following can help keep your pets safe during the frigid winter weeks to come:

For indoor pets during severe weather, dogs should only be let out to relieve themselves while cats should be kept indoors at all times.

When your bet returns inside, be sure to remove ice, salt as well as caked mud from your pet’s paws and coat immediately.

Prior to walking, but Vaseline or doggie shoes on your dogs’ paws to protect him/her from sidewalk salt as well as chemicals and be sure to wipe the Vaseline off when back inside.

Also, be sure that your pet’s bed is not on the floor in either a cold or drafty area of your home.

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And while indoor dogs usually get less exercise during cold weather and may require fewer calories, feed smaller portions to them to avoid weight gain.

For outdoor pets, there are actually state laws in place that require companion animals to be provided shelter from the elements which you can read more about, here.

Outdoor pets need more food in cold weather especially as they burn more calories to keep warm.

Always be sure to check for frostbite on both paws and ears and always make sure your pet’s water is not frozen.

Also keep an eye out for antifreeze spills as just one lick of the sweet-tasting fluid can be fatal for an animal.

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And in regards to cats, they have been known to climb onto vehicle engines for warmth knock on the hood of your car prior to starting the engine if you think a cat could potentially be inside.

“Watch for signs of hypothermia—weak pulse, dilated pupils, decreased heart rate, extreme shivering, pale or blue mucous membranes, body temperature below 95 degrees, stupor and unconsciousness. Consequences of extreme hypothermia may include neurological problems including coma, heart problems and kidney failure.” the AHS website states.

If you see a pet dog or cat that has been left outside with no food or shelter, the Human Society of the United States encourages you to reach out to your local law enforcement agencies.

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Animals that are left unattended and neglected risk hypothermia, frostbite as well as death while their owners are at risk of facing criminal charges.

Leaving a pet outside without food or shelter usually gets less attention compared to a violent attack against an animal but neglect is still a crime.

“Especially in these cold months, it is important for people to bring their pets inside and for others to report neglected animals to law enforcement,” says the HSUS manager for cruelty response, Ashley Mauceri.

If you see a pet left out in the cold, speak out.

Their life may depend on it.

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