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Keeping our pets warm and safe in the cold winter weather

We aren't the only ones who feel the impact of the bitter cold. Our pets can also be affected.

NORTON SHORES, Mich. — With the bitter cold temperatures that rocked the last week of January, many people are awaiting the much anticipated warm up. However, it's important to remember that we aren't the only ones affected by cold weather - our pets also get cold and keeping them safe and warm shouldn't escape our attention.

So how can you keep your cats and dogs safe and warm this winter? Here are some things to keep in mind.

There are a number of products available to buy that are meant to protect your pet and keep them warm. Things such as booties, blankets and coats. You can find a list of those items on Pet Supplies Plus's website.

Treat your pet's feet: consider using a thin layer of balm on your cat's or dog's paws before taking them outside. You could also consider booties to help prevent irritation from road salt.

When you do decide to go outside with your animal, keep an eye out for physical signs of discomfort, such as shivering, whining or a lack of desire to run around. If these signs are present, it's time to take them back inside.

Don't forget that there are alternatives to going outside! There are plenty of indoor games, puzzles and activities you can do to occupy your furry friend in the house! A quick Google search can lend quite a few ideas! Remember that smaller breeds tend to get colder quicker - and though larger breeds can tolerate the cold longer, it's still a good idea to keep them inside!

Don't give your pets too many treats during the winter. They may not have the same opportunities they normally do to burn off those extra calories. But it's important to note, that the cold and dry air means that your cats and dogs may need more water than usual - so make sure their bowl is full!

And though they may not get the same exercise they usually do, don't let them become a couch potato! There is an increase in the risk for injury if they suddenly start trying to exercise again in the springtime.

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