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Winter is here! Protect your pets!

Courtesy of ASPCA

It's getting cold outside! As the mercury drops, it's important to make sure furry friends stay warm this winter.
Just as for humans, too much exposure to winter's dry, cold air and unpredictable wet weather like rain, sleet and snow can spell discomfort for our pets and result in chapped paws and itchy, flaky skin.
If the weather is too cold for humans, it's likely too cold for pets as well. Help protect pets from cold weather dangers and keep them safe, happy and healthy this winter with these handy tips from ASPCA experts.
• Rapid temperature changes caused by repeatedly coming out of the wet cold into the dry heat can often cause itchy and flaky skin. Make sure to keep your home humidified and towel dry your pet as soon as he comes inside - being sure to give feet and the space between toes extra attention!
• During cold spells, bathing pets too often can remove necessary oils from their skin and fur, and can increase the change of skin irritation. Bathe pets as little as possible during cold snaps, and if they must be bathed, ask your vet to recommend a moisturizing shampoo or rinse.
• Longer coats provide more warmth during the coldest months, so give your pets a good brushing. Regular brushing not only gets rid of dead hair, it stimulates blood circulation to improve skin's overall condition.
• Dress your pet in a sweater or coat when they head outdoors. This will help retain body heat and prevent skin from getting dry or inflamed during winter walks.
• Pets burn extra energy by trying to stay warm during the winter. Feed your pet a little bit of extra food during the cold weather and make sure plenty of water is available to keep pets well-hydrated and prevent skin dryness.
• Winter walks can turn dangerous quickly if chemicals from ice-melting agents are licked off legs and paws. Be sure to wipe off your dog's legs, paws and stomach when he first comes inside and clean up any spills from your vehicle. Consider using products that contain propylene glycol rather than ethylene glycol.
• Remember, pets should stay indoors as much as possible during winter months and never leave your pup alone in the car!