If you are cold, you pet is cold too

Winter can be a wonderful time to be outside wit your fur baby, but here are some great tips that The Detroit Free Press gave for pet safety during the cold months.

1. Cover them up: Dogs with thicker coats have higher tolerance to cold weather, but short-haired breeds such as chihuahuas, beagles and greyhounds don’t have much natural shield from the elements. If taking them out for a walk of more than a few minutes, put a sweater or coat on them. Booties provide added protection for their feet if your dog will tolerate them.

2. Watch out for the wind chill: It’s not just the thermometer reading that matters. “The wind takes your body temperature away from you,’’ Whitmore said. “The wind chill is the worst part when it gets this cold.’’

3. Knock on the car hood or blow the horn: Cats have a knack for finding warm spots when it’s cold, but oftentimes that can be a wheel well or a nook underneath the hood of a car that was recently turned off. The noise from a knock or the horn will scare them away.

4. Beware of antifreeze: Animals are drawn to the smell and sweet taste of ethylene glycol in regular antifreeze, which crystallizes in their lungs and kills them. Colder temperatures often remind drivers to add antifreeze to their vehicles, and spillages become hazardous to animals.

5. Go out with them: As uncomfortable as it might be, it’s best to take dogs out to do their business instead of letting them roam by themselves in the yard. Though most dogs will want to scurry back where it’s warm, some may not be able to resist chasing a squirrel or running around.

6. Don’t leave pets in the car: The Chicago branch of PAWS says cold weather can create “a freezer-like environment’’ inside a car that’s turned off, so it discourages owners from traveling with their pets during the winter. If pets must come along, they shouldn’t be let alone in the vehicle even for short spells.

7. Shelter, food and water: Stray cats can withstand temperatures around 15-20 degrees but are in danger of hypothermia when the mercury drops lower. Some cities give away small, insulated boxes that serve as shelter for cats – they can also be made easily out of Styrofoam coolers – and volunteers or other residents spread them around.

8. Set up a warm place to sleep: Keep pets away from any draft and off the floor by providing them a bed or basket with a blanket or pillow in it.

9. Dog boots: Dogs paws are sensitive to the cold cement as well as frozen grass and gravel. To protect your pups paws from frost bite or getting salt on their paws, dog boots are a great choice.

Winter is a wonderful season, just make sure you and your pets stay safe!