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Six tips to keep your furry friend safe in freezing temps

SEATTLE — Some of your pets may love the snow. But as our early-season cold snap continues, Seattle Animal Shelter is sharing six tips to keep your fur-ever friend safe.

Seattle Animal Shelter has heard it before, and will say it again - “If it’s too cold for you, it’s too cold for your pet.”

With below-freezing temperatures across much of Western Washington, the early-season cold snap is prompting a reminder that your pets are not immune to the cold.

“We think they’re okay because they have fur,” said Tracy Bahrakis, the animal care manager at Seattle Animal Shelter.

And, just like you, even dogs with a thick undercoat may be at risk for both hypothermia and frostbite.

“Most dogs are acclimated to living inside and living in Seattle’s climate,” Bahrakis said. “It doesn’t get this cold, so even with that fur, their bodies aren’t ready to help them regulate to the temperatures that we’re having right now.”

“It’s pretty fun to watch our pets enjoy something they don’t get to see much; we’ve just got to make sure we’re keeping them safe,” Bahrakis continued.

Seattle Animal Shelter is sharing these six tips to help protect your pet:

  • Limit time outside to avoid frostbite.
  • Monitor old or arthritic pets while outdoors and try to steer clear of ice to avoid slipping or injury.
  • When they go out for walks, put a synthetic or wool sweater or jacket on your pet to insulate them from the cold.
  • Bring outdoor pets in (even to a garage) and give them an elevated bed or space where they can get their bellies and paws off the snow.
  • Use a damp washcloth to wipe down your pet’s paws and bellies after walks to get rid of any chemicals from snow melt, which can cause serious illness.
  • Look for signs of hypothermia, like shivering and holding paws up.

If you believe your pet is exhibiting signs of frostbite, or may have ingested snowmelt, contact your vet immediately.

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