These cold Central New York winters don't just have negative health effects for humans. Dogs, cats and other animals can also suffer injuries such as hypothermia and frostbite.

You can still do most of the normal things you do with your pet in the winter that you do during the rest of the year, but there are several things to keep in mind when temperatures are at extreme lows.

According to Kim Strong of Lainey's Army, one of the most important things to remember is not leave your dog outside unattended. If you do let the dog out to do their business, wait until they're done and immediately let them in. Strong says, "Watch for lifting paws it means pain."

Strong also says that walks are acceptable, but keep them to shorter distances when it is below zero. When you do take your animal out on a walk it's important to make sure they have plenty of water to stay hydrated and prevent their skin from becoming dry. Strong also adds, "Wipe dogs paws off when you return from a walk. The road salts and ice melting chemicals are not good for dogs to have on or lick from their paws."

There are several indicators to look for to see if you're pet is starting to suffer from one of these cold weather conditions. For instance, if the dog does get cold you want to make sure you warm it slowly to prevent frostbite. Strong says, "If your pet gets lethargic be sure to contact the vet immediately."

Strong also wishes to remind folks that if they see an animal in danger, they are encouraged to contact proper authorities. Strong says, "if you see a dog left outside call your local SPCA, police and local legislators. This truly is an important issue to keep in mind during the colder winter months.

One more thing that Strong recommends is tapping on or knocking on your vehicles hood before starting your engine. There may be the possibility of a small animal sleeping or burrowing in there to keep warm.

Basically, use common sense. If you are cold then odds are you're animal is just as cold.

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