Your dog's fur coat might not necessarily keep him warm this winter

When it snows, like the early December storm, people love to get out with their dogs and play. But having a fur coat does not guarantee they will stay warm enough.

"Pets that are smaller, pets that have a thinner coat, have a thinner body condition, are going to be less tolerant of the cold, just like people," said Dr. Mike Metz, a veterinarian at Companion Animal Hospital in Raleigh.

So if your dog is small, a sweater or coat is good idea when they're outdoors.

And when it snows, always remember to clean off their paws after they're outside for a walk or playing. Salt can get on their paws and can make them sick if they lick it.

Dr. Metz says it's best for your pet to live indoors in the winter, but for some people, that's not possible. In that case, you want to make sure they have good shelter to keep them dry from rain or snow, and warm, soft bedding.

"One thing people may not think about is to check the water bowl frequently because that water will freeze and you want to check to make sure its ok," said Dr. Metz.

And if your pets stay in the garage for any reason, be sure your car is not leaking antifreeze. Dogs love the sweet taste, but it's poison and it only takes a little to cause kidney problems.

Just remember, dogs feel the cold just like we do, so if the wind chill is 10 degrees, it feels like 10 degrees to you and your pet. They can get hypothermia too.
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