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As the weather grows colder, there are certain precautions you should take to make sure your pet stays healthy and safe.

Outdoors.   Don't leave your pet outside in the cold for long periods of time! Be attentive to your pet's body temperature and limit time outdoors. Pets can die from hypothermia!

Shelter.   Adequate shelter is a necessity! Keep your pet warm, dry, and away from drafts....better yet keep your pet indoors! Tiles and uncarpeted areas may become extremely cold, so make sure to place blankets and pads on floors in these areas.

Food.   It takes more energy in the winter to keep body temperatures regulated, so you should feed your pet additional calories if he spends time outdoors.

Frostbite.   Animals can get frostbite, just like people!  Be sure to remove snow and ice from your pet's paws and coat.  Frostbitten skin turns reddish, white or gray, and may be scaly.  Immediately contact your veterinarian.  Then take your pet to a warm place, and apply warm, moist towels (change them frequently) to affected areas until the skin is flushed. Better yet, don't leave your pet outdoors for too long!

Salt.   The salt used to melt icy patches can be harmful to your pet.  Keep these products tightly sealed and away from pets.  Remove any salt from your pet's paws immediately.

Antifreeze.   Antifreeze products are actually sweet tasting to your pet.  If your pet licks even a small amount, it can be fatal.  Thoroughly clean up spills at once and keep tightly sealed containers away from pets.

Napping Cats.   Cats often seek out warm places, such as car engines, to nap.  Before starting your car, knock on the hood and honk the horn.

Holidays.   Keep chocolate, alcoholic beverages, and other sweet or fatty foods, which may be harmful, away from your pet.  Maintain a regular diet.  Also, beware of extra electrical cords, which should be covered.  Ribbons can get caught around a pet's neck and choke him/her.  Keep them away!

Holiday Gifts.   Review holiday gifts for dogs or cats to make sure they are safe. Items such as plastic toys and small rawhide sticks may be dangerous.

Help Out.   If you see an animal in need of attention, don't pass them up. Please call your local humane society, or animal shelter. If you have room in your home to help (even if it's temporary), please do. You may save a life!

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