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Winter pet safety

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(KYTX) - Patricia Dawson says she takes extra care of her pets during the Winter.

"We have sweaters to put on them to make sure that they stay warm. And then, at night, we just make sure that we have pillows and blankets. And then, our other dog who's potty trained sleeps with us."

"If at all possible, just bring them in the house when it's so cold like this."

Gale Helms is executive director of the Humane Society of East Texas.

She says the cold weather can be deadly for smaller, younger dogs, older dogs, and pets that are unhealthy. They especially need to be brought inside.

"People think that with these dogs and cats, they've got this fur coat on and that they can take care of themselves out in the cold, and that's really not true."

If you have outside pets, you want to make sure their homes are facing away from the direction of the wind, and, if at all possible, keep them elevated. That way, they're up above the cold ground. When temperatures really drop, you want to make sure you either put waterproof burlap or a plastic covering over the top. And, that should really help keep the heat in.

"Anything below 50 degrees, we suggest you start making provisions for the animals that are outside."

That includes livestock.

"They need to have good, nutritional food to eat. Make sure that the hay is good. And, they need to be just checked out to make sure that they're healthy in this cold weather.

Helms says you can also keep your animals warmer by feeding them twice a day and exercising them regularly.

"The apartment community where I live, they actually have a dog park, so they go to the dog park often." says Dawson.

In Winter weather, it's tempting for small animals to crawl into your car and take naps by the warm motor. Helms says gently hitting on the hood before you start your car should scare away any pets that may be hiding inside.

There's also the threat of poisonous antifreeze in cold weather, so be sure to clean up any spills you see immediately.

If you think your pet has swallowed antifreeze, take it to a vet right away.

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