Five things you need to know: How to keep your pets safe this winter

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Winter is coming, and with it also comes unpleasantly cold weather.

Even our fluffy pets with thick coats of fur feel it, too.

Jodi Dean, spokeswoman for the Peninsula SPCA, shared a few helpful tips to keep your pets safe this chilly season.

  1. If it’s too cold for you, then it’s too cold for them: It’s just a good rule of thumb. Don’t assume your pet is more comfortable being left outside if they have thicker coats. They would much rather prefer being warm inside with you, especially at night. There is no definitive amount of time a pet should be outside, but the colder it is, then the less amount of time should be spent outdoors. And if you join your pets for outdoor exploring, then it’s also a good idea to keep them on a leash and avoid ice.
  2. Check under the hood of your car: Before you take to the roads, look under your car for some critter looking for a way to say warm, and a parked car with a warm engine is a tempting resting spot for those seeking warmth.
  3. Wipe their paws: If you just came back from a walk with Fido, or kitty just returned from the latest outdoor adventure, then it’s a good idea to wipe off their paws, especially if there is frost on the ground. The salt used to break down icy sidewalks can be irritating to their paws.
  4. Don’t leave your pets in cold cars: Just like hot cars in the summertime, cold cars also pose a threat to your pet. So if you’re planning on taking your pet out and leaving them in the car for any period of time, then it’s best to keep them at home where it’s warm.
  5. Anything else? Yes. If your pet does come down with a case of hypothermia, then try to warm them up. In the meantime, Dean advises also taking your pet to get medical attention immediately. The Animal Emergency Center at 2025 George Washington Memorial Hwy. is open 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 a.m. Monday through Friday, and open 24 hours on the weekends. You can contact them at 757-234-0461.

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