Frigid weather harmful to pets - Fox29 WFLX TV, West Palm Beach, Florida-

Frigid weather harmful to pets

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ATLANTA (CBS46) -

Pets are like family for many of us, but many people often think because cats and dogs are covered in fur, they can tolerate frigid weather. 

But, very cold temperatures can be just as hard on animals as it is for humans.

Experts at the American Animal Hospital Association say a great way to gauge when to bring your pets in is for you to go outside with them. When you start feeling like it's too cold and you want to head back inside, they probably feel the same way, too.

Many pet owners put sweaters and coats on their animals. While those help a little, the AAHA warns against depending on them entirely to keep your pet warm. It points out pets lose most of their body heat from their ears, respiratory tract and pads of their feet.

Other helpful tips to keep your pets safe and warm during cold snaps like this:

  • Use common sense. Naturally long-haired breeds like huskies fair a little better, and for a bit longer outdoors. Smaller breeds like Chihuahuas need to come in from the cold quicker.
  • Be careful with cats because they will cozy up to just about anything for warmth. That includes often nestling up to car engines. 
  • Rock salt, ice and chemical ice get in their foot pads which chaps them and makes them raw. Wash their paws well with a warm washcloth. 
  • Be easy with elderly animals. Just like us humans, the cold makes their joints stiff and tender.

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