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The ASPCA has released its list of cold-weather safety tips for your pet, and they're a good reminder of how to keep your dog or cat safe in inclement weather. Snow, sleet and ice can be dangerous, and so can ice-melting agents that get on bare paws. Here's how to keep your pet healthy when the weather gets frightful.
1. Coming in and out of the cold can cause itchy and flaky skin. Be sure to keep your home humidified and towel-dry your pet as soon as it comes inside. Also be sure to wipe off paws and remove any snow from in between foot pads.
2. Never shave your dog in the winter. If your dog has long hair, keep it trimmed to prevent ice balls from forming, and pay special attention to fur on the paws that can build up ice-melting agents. If your dog has short fur, purchase it a coat or sweater with a high collar that covers the belly.
3. On long walks, bring a towel along to clean off paws. When you bring your pet indoors, always be sure to wash off and dry your pet's feet and stomach to remove ice, salt and chemicals.
4. Don't wash your pet too often during cold weather, it can dry out your pets skin. If you must wash your pet, use a moisturizing shampoo.
5. Massage petroleum jelly into your pet's paw pads to protect them from salt and chemical agents. Booties can provide even more protection, keeping the salt out of the delicate area between toes.
6. Be sure to clean up any antifreeze spills. It's poisonous to dogs and cats.
7. Feed your pet a little extra during cold weather months to provide extra calories. And provide plenty of water for extra hydration, which makes skin less dry.