Central New York is experiencing a record-breaking cold snap. Make sure your pets stay safe, warm and healthy by following these simple guidelines.

Exposure to winter’s dry, cold air and chilly rain, sleet and snow can cause chapped paws and itchy, flaking skin, and winter walks can become be dangerous if chemicals from ice-melting agents are licked off of bare paws. To help prevent cold weather dangers from affecting your pet’s health, please follow the advice from the ASPCA.Org.

  • Constantly coming in and out of the cold into the dry heat of your home can cause itchy, flaking skin. We should towel dry our pets as soon as he comes inside, paying special attention to his feet and in-between the toes.
  • Keep a longer coat on y our pet in the winter. If your dog is long-haired, just trim him to minimize the clinging ice balls, salt crystals and de-icing chemicals that can dry his skin, and don’t forget the hair between his toes. Short-Haired pooches need a coat or sweater with a high collar or turtleneck with coverage from the base of the tail to the belly.
  • Consider bringing a towel on winter walks to clean off stinging, irritated paws. When you get home don't forget to wash and dry your pet’s feet and stomach to remove ice, salt and chemicals and check for cracks in paw pads or redness between the toes.
  • Try not to bathe pets during cold spells as it can remove essential oils and increase the chance of developing dry, flaky skin.
  • Massaging petroleum jelly or other paw protectants into paw pads before going outside can help protect from salt and chemical agents. Booties provide even more coverage and can also prevent sand and salt from getting lodged between bare toes. Use pet-friendly ice melts whenever possible.
  • Pets burn extra energy by trying to stay warm in the wintertime. Feeding your pet a little bit more during the cold weather months can provide much-needed calories, and making sure she has plenty of water to drink will help keep her well-hydrated and her skin less dry.
  • Make sure pets have a warm place to sleep, off the floor and away from drafts. A dog or cat bed with a warm blanket or pillow is perfect so is the couch or on your lap.

If it’s too cold for you, it’s too cold for your pet. Keep your animals inside. Don’t leave pets alone in a vehicle during cold weather, it can act as a refrigerator that holds in the cold and cause your pet to freeze to death.

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