We're well into winter and if you don't believe me, just open a window.  If it's not frozen shut, that is.  With temperatures last night reaching -18 in the city and -25 in Elk Park last night, people will be shivering again tonight with forecast lows back into the subzero range.  Let's make sure our pets aren't shivering too.

Intense Winter Storm Brings Multiple Feet Of Lake Effect Snow To Buffalo Area
Quick potty breaks are fine but don't ever leave your pets outside in freezing temperatures for any extended period.  Photo: John Normile/Getty Images

Get Your Pets Inside

A lot of people think that because dogs and cats are furry, they are comfortable in extreme cold.  Those people are wrong.  The American Veterinary Medical Association says that our cats and dogs, just like us, are susceptible to frostbite and hypothermia and should be brought inside.  Although cold weather breeds with longer hair and thick coats, such as Huskies, are more tolerant of cold weather, no pet should be left outside for extended periods in freezing weather. They note that it is important to know your pets' limits, particularly with shorter-haired breeds and they note that elderly pets or pets with arthritis can have a more difficult time walking and maintaining balance on snow and ice.

Keep the Paws Clean

After walking or playing with your dog outside, make sure to wipe down their paws when you bring them in to prevent them from accidentally licking antifreeze or any other deicing chemical their paws may have come into contact with.  The AVMA also recommends checking their paws for cracks or even snow built up between their pads.  They remind you that a sweater or dog jacket will help keep your pet warm and remind you that it is especially important to have your check easily identifiable not only with a collar and tag but with a chip as well, as lost dogs have a harder time finding scent markers in cold and snowy weather and could become lost easier.

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