CHARLOTTE, N.C. — We're in the middle of winter and while we bundle up our human members of the family to stay safe and warm, you have to also remember the four-footed fur babies.
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The ASPCA has released tips for keeping your pets safe during the winter months.
1. Keep your home humidified and dry your pet with a towel as soon as he comes in from the cold. Make sure the animal's feet are free of snow. Wash your pet's feet and stomach after a walk to remove ice, salt and chemicals.
2. But fully bathe your pets as little as possible during cold weather. Too many baths can get rid of essential oils. If you must give your pet a bath, use a moisturizing shampoo and/or rinse.
3. Don't shave your dog in the winter. Longer coat will give your dogs more insulation. If your dog is a short-haired pup, consider a coat or sweater with a high collar or turtleneck. Also make sure it covers from the base of the tail to the belly.
4. Use petroleum jelly or other paw protectant on paws before going out. You can go as far as putting on booties to keep sand and salt away from their pads. When possible, use pet-friendly ice melts on your sidewalks.
5. Feed your pet a little more during winter months and make sure he has enough to drink. Pets burn extra energy trying to stay warm. The extra water can keep him hydrated and his skin less dry.
6. Make sure your pet has a warm place to sleep, off of the floor and away from drafts. The ASPCA says a pet bed with a blanket or pillow will work.
7. Finally, if it's too cold for you outside, it's too cold for your pet. Pets left outside can freeze, become disoriented, lost, stolen, injured or even killed. And don't let them in a car. Cars can act as refrigerators, according to the ASPCA. They can hold the cold in and cause animals to freeze to death.
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