With temperatures plummeting in the days ahead it’s incredibly imperative to think about your pet’s safety, animals just like people can get frost bite and suffer without proper precautions. KVII ABC 7 chief Meteorologist Joe Puma predicts some incredibly cold arctic air will be here throughout the week and especially this weekend, with wind chills well below zero.

Remember winter walks can become downright dangerous if chemicals from ice-melting agents are licked off of bare paws. It’s a good idea to get doggie bootie’s at any pet supply store to prevent poisoning.

Here are some other tips from the ASPCA:

Repeatedly coming out of the cold into the dry heat of your home can cause itchy, flaking skin. Keep your home humidified and towel dry your pet as soon as he comes inside, paying special attention to his feet and in-between the toes. Remove any snow balls from between his foot pads.

Never shave your dog down to the skin in winter, as a longer coat will provide more warmth. If your dog is long-haired, simply trim him to minimize the clinging ice balls, salt crystals and de-icing chemicals that can dry his skin, and don’t neglect the hair between his toes. If your dog is short-haired, consider getting him a coat or sweater with a high collar or turtleneck with coverage from the base of the tail to the belly. For many dogs, this is regulation winter wear.

Bring a towel on long walks to clean off stinging, irritated paws. After each walk, wash and dry your pet’s feet and stomach to remove ice, salt and chemicals—and check for cracks in paw pads or redness between the toes.

Bathe your pets as little as possible during cold spells. Washing too often can remove essential oils and increase the chance of developing dry, flaky skin. If your pooch must be bathed, ask your vet to recommend a moisturizing shampoo and/or rinse.

Massaging petroleum jelly or other paw protectants into paw pads before going outside can help protect from salt and chemical agents. Use pet-friendly ice melts whenever possible.

Remember if it’s too cold for you to go outside without protection, then it’s also too cold for your pet. It doesn’t cost much to invest in a winter coat for your pet. The love you’ll get back is well worth the money.

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