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Pets Need Special Attention During Winter

Dog

Winter weather can be dangerous, not only to humans, but to animals as well. KSMU's Gina Widger reports.

Experts say as you curl up next to the fireplace, you might want to bring your pet inside to snuggle with you.

Jaci McReynolds is the Public Information Administrator at the Springfield-Greene County Health Department. She says older pets and very young ones are the most vulnerable.

"Just like people, dogs can also be at risk for hypothermia and frostbite so a dog should never be left outdoors without adequate shelter, food and water. Some people think that dogs can lick the snow or lick ice to get moisture and that's just not true. They really do need to have that fresh, cold water everyday to drink."

McReynolds also says if you have to leave your pet outside, have shelter for it that is slightly off the ground to prevent moisture build-up. After a walk outside, clean the pet’s fur and paws with a warm towel in case salt or antifreeze may have stuck to them, making them sick if they lick it. Do not dip the animal’s paws in hot water because this could injure them. The health department says if your pet has frostbitten skin, which is red or grey in color, put a warm wet towel on the area and call your veterinarian.

More tips on how to protect your pet this winter are available on the web at www.springfieldmo.gov/health.

For KSMU News, I'm Gina Widger.