Keeping your pets safe and warm in the frigid temperatures - FOX13 News, WHBQ FOX 13

Keeping your pets safe and warm in the frigid temperatures

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(WJBK) -

In readiness for the cold temperatures, Detroit Dog Rescue wants to remind Detroit dog owners of their responsibilities to ensure their pets are safe and comfortable during long periods of extreme cold weather.

VIDEO: Click on the video player above to learn more in a report from Fox 2's Andrea Isom

+ Pet owners should limit their dogs' time outside to reduce exposure to cold temperatures. When outdoors, dress your dog with an insulated vest, sweater and doggie boots to protect their paws and core.

+ Dogs that spend most of their time outdoors may need more calories to maintain their energy level in cold weather. Always check with your vet regarding all changes to your dog's diet. It's also important to make sure your dog has adequate water outside. Keep it fresh and in a plastic bowl (avoid metal) to prevent it from freezing - contrary to popular belief dogs cannot break ice in a water bowl and you do not want them licking ice or eating snow as a way to hydrate. Snow and ice in an urban setting can be filled with toxins from salt and other antifreeze products that are harmful to your dog's digestive system.

+ Always keep a collar on your dog and consider having your pet identified with a microchip. If your dog gets loose, lost or disoriented in cold weather with an ID collar and microchip, the better the chance is your dog is found and can be returned home.

+ Provide adequate sheltering and bedding if your pet must spend a significant amount of time outdoors. Keeping your dog tied up to the porch, stairs, fence or a tree is not cool or humane. A good way to keep your dog secure and comfortable is in a doghouse, raised off the ground with a roof to shed away the elements. In the doghouse make sure you keep enough straw (avoid hay) to provide a nice bedding for your dog. Straw keeps mold and bacteria down and is a great insulator in the house.

+ Remember your dog can get frostbite on their paw-pads. Prolonged contact with frozen ground surfaces, such as concrete and asphalt, can be dangerous for dogs.

+ Be aware of harmful substances, such as road salt and other ice-melting, antifreeze products, that can get lodged in between paws causing an irritation or chemical burn. Always wipe down your dog's paws after spending time outside - this will prevent them from digesting any toxic materials when they decide to lick and clean themselves.

+ Don't leave your dog in the car unattended for anytime during extreme weather periods - cold or hot. Just because most dogs have fur does not mean they can stand near-arctic or below temperatures.

+ Your pet needs a well-groomed coat to keep him properly insulated. Short or coarse-haired dogs might get extra cold so consider a sweater or a coat. Long-haired dogs should have their paw hair trimmed to ease in cleaning and snow removal.

+ Carefully keep pets warm and away from drafts while inside. You can drape a blanket over a cage to keep the pet warmer at night. Also be aware of space heaters and other supplemental heat sources that can burn your pet. Keep portable heaters out of reach and make sure all fireplaces have adequate screening. And, of course, never leave your pet alone with an unattended fire.

+ Puppies do not tolerate the cold as well as adult dogs and may be difficult to housebreak during the winter. If necessary, paper-train your puppy inside if she appears to be sensitive to the weather. Also, after shoveling the driveway don't forget to brush away a clear path and area to the area your dog uses to relieve itself.

Detroit Dog Rescue is a registered 501(c)3 nonprofit organization whose mission is to humanely rescue homeless dogs living in Detroit and establishment of the areas first no-kill rescue center for dogs without a home.

For more information on Detroit Dog Rescue or to make a donation visit online at www.DetroitDogRescue.com.

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