Their view: Cold weather can be dangerous to four-legged family members

Mallory Kerley, media coordinator for the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, offers tips for pet owners in cold weather:

The temperature is falling to frigid levels across the country, and the ASPCA is reminding pet owners that the cold weather can also be dangerous for our four-legged family members.

Below are some safety tips to keep in mind as the temperature drops:

z "It is important to always walk your dog on a leash, but when it snows this becomes critical," says Dr. Louise Murray, vice president of the ASPCA's Bergh Memorial Animal Hospital.

"During a snowstorm, dogs can lose their scent and easily become lost. More dogs are lost during the winter than during any other season, so make sure yours always wears her ID tags."

z Never shave your dog down to the skin in winter, as a full coat will provide more warmth.

When you bathe your dog in the colder months, be sure to completely dry him before taking him out for a walk.

When it comes to short-haired dogs, consider getting him a coat or sweater with a high collar or turtleneck that covers his whole back

z "Never leave your dog or cat alone in a car, especially during extremely cold weather," advises Murray.

"The temperature in the car drops very quickly, and it is not a safe place for your pet to be unattended."

z Make sure your companion animal has a warm place to sleep, off the floor and away from all drafts.

A cozy dog or cat bed with a warm blanket or pillow is perfect.

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