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How to keep your four-legged friends safe during frigid temperatures

Keeping dogs warm in the cold.
Keeping dogs warm in the cold.(WSAW)
Published: Jan. 10, 2022 at 6:39 AM CST
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WAUSAU, Wis. (WSAW) - It’s the middle of winter in northcentral Wisconsin, and that means more layers for us. But what about our four-legged friends?

Wausau’s humane officer, Ashlee Bishop said every dog is different. So, paying attention to warning signs, like shivering or lifting up their paws, is key. Bishop said to try and limit your dog’s time outside to 10-15 minutes. She said the most common places that get cold the fastest are the tips of their ears and nose.

Bishop also mentioned staying close to your door if you choose not to go outside with your pet. So, then you can look out for those warning signs, and let them in if they are lifting up their paws. ”That’s still normal skin on their paws, and it’s a little tougher, but you know they still feel a lot there.”

Salt is another thing to look out for because Bishop mentioned not every business uses safe salt for pets. Bishop recommended getting little booties for them. And when you do go back inside, she said to wipe off their paw pads because the salt can irritate their paws and cause chemical burns.

As mentioned, every dog is different. Some dogs can brave the cold, while others cannot. Some dogs, like huskies, may not want to come inside. Bishop recommends if your dog doesn’t have a thick coat, buy a little jacket for them when heading outside. As for other dogs, she said you want to see the snow accumulating on their fur.

“Because that means that they’ve got a nice barrier between the fur and their body heat. If the snow is melting, that means their body heat is escaping and now you have another issue, and the dog needs to come in very quickly and get dried off.”

She said if you aren’t sure how your dog is feeling, a good indicator is their gum color. You want to make sure they are bright and pink, and not pale. Overall, she said if your dog isn’t acting like normal, to give your vet a call.

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