Answering your pet safety questions headed into winter –

Answering your pet safety questions headed into winter –

Dr. Kelly Gebhardt explains the best practices for keeping your pets safe in the winter.

GREENSBORO, N.C. — The first day of winter is coming up soon. As the seasons change, temperatures in the Triad can drop into the teens.

Colder weather means pet owners need to keep a few things in mind to keep their furry friends safe.

2 Wants to Know spoke with Dr. Kelly Gebhardt from Happy Tails Emergency Veterinary Clinic to learn how to manage pets in the cold weather.

Gebhardt said all pet owners should follow one basic rule. If it’s too cold for humans to hang out outside, the same holds true for pets. Owners should limit their pet’s time outdoors and never leave in a car when it’s cold.

Outdoor cats may sleep under the hoods of cars when the temperatures drop. If people know they have outdoor cats in their neighborhood, they should bang loudly on their car hoods. That gives the animal a chance to escape.

Gebhardt said to be careful using salt to prevent your driveways from freezing. The salt can cause anything from sore feet to toxic ingestion for pets. She said pet owners should wipe off their dog’s paws when they come inside. Dogs may lick their paws and it’s possible for them to ingest the salt, which is toxic to them.

Gebhardt says show some extra love to pets that are young, old or thin during the winter months. They typically don’t tolerate the cold as well. She said to make sure your pet has a warm place to sleep.

Colder weather can also cause more arthritic pain for pets. Pain from less activity can create problems too. Gebhardt suggests monitoring your pet to see if any symptoms like limping or difficulty getting up happen. Your vet may suggest anti-inflammatory medicine.

Gebhardt said keeping your pet’s exercise schedule the same also helps prevent joint pain in winter months.