RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Just like you need an extra layer for the cold temperatures, so do your pets!
Your four-legged friends will need special attention as the temperatures drop.
“You want to take the same precautions that you would take, so covering up,” Courtney Bowers, Associate Veterinarian, Susan M. Markel Veterinary Hospital, said.
Take particular notice of your dog’s coat. Some dogs have thick coats that can handle cold weather, but other dogs are not well insulated and need extra help.
“She has a very thin coat, so even though she has fur, she doesn’t have much more protection if I went outside without a coat,” Bowers said.
Bowers also recommends pets wear booties on their paws.
“Their paw pads are essentially about as strong as our bare feet when it comes to cold temperatures, so protection there as well,” Bowers said. "Also, in general the salt on the sidewalks and roads is not pet safe, so if it gets caught in their paws or has contact for a prolonged period, it can lead to some severe burns.”
Even worse, if your pet spends too much time outside without proper shelter or clothing they can get frostbite or worse. If you do leave your animal outside, it could be considered animal cruelty, which is punishable by up to a year in jail.
“When it gets this cold definitely need to bring them in if at all possible," Bowers said. “When they are outside, that they are properly clothed or that they have proper shelter.”