Many of us have been rushing to buy a new pair of gloves, a new winter hat, or perhaps a jacket to help stay warm over the next few months. While it's important to stay warm when the cold strikes, it is just as important to keep Spike, Fido, or Rascal warm as well. Dr. Joseph Blair of Veterinary Associates in Bluefield, WV says it's important to keep our pets safe during the winter months, and that he has recently had a close call with the cold.
"We had a case where the dog got lose and they couldn't find the dog, and it was only in the upper 20's and the dog got hypothermia and we were very lucky to save that dog."
Despite the cold, Dr. Blair encourages animals to get outside, because like humans, they need their exercise.
"As far as going for walks, I think that's the best way for them to get exercise or if they play in the yard that's great. In the winter time if they get exercise there's not a whole lot of risk going out in the cold if it's cold enough that you can stand the cold."
Owners of smaller dogs may want to consider buying sweaters for their pet so they can tolerate the cold better.
"I think that's great especially for our really small dogs like Chihuahuas and Yorkies. Not only are they cute but if you take them outside to go on a short walk or go to the mall or something, it helps keep them warm."
Big dogs with thick fur tend to do best in the cold. Cats typically do well in cold as well, but if your cat is usually kept inside, you'll need to keep an eye it.
"We don't worry about cats as much, but sometimes if they're domesticated and kept inside, they need to make sure they can get away from the cold in shelters just like the dogs."
Dr. Blair suggests continuing any medication your pet may be on, such as tick or heartworm medication, because warmer days can cause flare ups. Pet owners need to make sure their dog or cat has a water supply. Dr. Blair also warns of road salt on driveways and sidewalks because it can irritate the pads on your pet's paw.
If you are looking for a furry friend, some of the kittens in this video are up for adoption and are looking for a loving home.