This week, a dog died in Toledo and was found “frozen solid” outside on the home’s porch. The incident, which is under investigation, should remind people that pets must be protected from the cold.

The country is currently going through an Arctic cold outbreak, with record low temperatures seen in the Midwest and East. The cold weather has killed some animals, including sharks.

Those who have pets should take precautions during the cold weather season. Here are some tips to protect pets from the cold, compiled from information released by the American Veterinary Medical Foundation, The Humane Society of the United States and The Animal Foundation.

How To Keep Your Pet Warm In Freezing Winter Temperatures

Don’t Leave Your Pet Out

It’s best to keep dogs and cats, or other pets, inside homes. People are sometimes accustomed to leaving their pet in their backyard or porch, but in cold temperatures humans should not leave their animals outside. People should also never leave their animals in a car, since low temperatures in the winter can freeze the pet to death.  

Dress Your Pet Up And Forget About Cutting Their Mane

Obviously some dogs need to be taken out for their business, but people should try to keep the walks as short as possible and should dress up their pet to keep them warm. Some might think that dogs will do much better than humans in the cold because of their fur, but the four-legged creatures still feel the low temperatures. Cold weather could do much damage to pets. Exposed skin on noses, paws and ear could put the animals at risk for frostbite and hypothermia. People should put a jacket and shoes on their pet to keep them safe and warm. Humans should also avoid shaving their pet’s fur down during the winter, since the hair helps keep them warmer. People should also make sure their dogs are fully dry after taking a bath before letting them step outside.

Keep Walks Short

People should keep walks short, especially when they have arthritic and elderly pets. Pets that are older or are arthritic have a harder time walking on snow and ice and could fall and slip more easily. Long-haired and thick-coated dogs are more cold-tolerant, but that doesn’t mean they don’t get cold and are at risk. Short-haired pets get cold faster because they don’t have as much fur, and short-legged pets feel the cold much more because their bodies are closer to the freezing or snow-covered ground.

Pets that have diabetes, heart disease, kidney disease, or hormonal imbalance, as well as very young animals and elderly pets should be checked up on and kept warm, since they have a harder time regulating their body temperature.

Keep Pets Fed And Hydrated

Pets should be properly fed and hydrated at all times, since keeping their bodies warm depletes their energy. Humans should also use plastic bowls to feed and hydrate their pets. Using metal bowls can cause a pet’s tongue to stick and freeze to it.

Use ID Tags Or Chips

If dogs are taken out in the snow, they shouldn't be left off their leash. The animals could easily lose their scent and get lost in the snow. In case that happens, people should be prepared by installing an ID tag or chip on their dog’s collar.

Wipe Down Pets To Keep Chemicals Away

Humans use many chemicals and rock salt to melt snow and ice, which can put pets at risk. Dogs are especially at risk of salt poisoning during the winter. To keep pets safe from the chemicals and salt, people should use damp towels and wipe down all paws before the animal licks them and irritates its mouth. Antifreeze is another chemical that humans should keep away from pets. The chemical has a sweet taste that could attract animals or kids.

Know If Your Pet Is Cold

According to the American Veterinary Medical Foundation, if a person sees their pet “whining, shivering, seems anxious, slows down or stops moving, seems weak, or starts looking for warm places to burrow,” they are showing signs of hypothermia. Humans should also check their pets’ paws frequently to see if there are signs of cold-weather injury or damage, like cracked paw pads or bleeding.

Keep Other Animals Safe In The Winter

Watch Out For Animals Under Cars

Even if people don’t have pets they should be cautious when they see animals in the cold. There are plenty of homeless dogs and cats on the streets that need food and water to help their bodies keep warm. People should also be careful when turning on their car. Animals, like cats, tend to sleep under toasty engines of vehicles to keep warm in the winter. Turning on the car could injure or kill an animal. Humans should make loud noises to make sure the animal has moved away from the vehicle before it starts.

Speak Out

There are some pet owners out there that don’t take care of their animals properly during the winter, sometimes because they don’t know about the risks of cold weather. People should speak out if they are concerned about an animals’ well-being. Going up to the pet-owner and offering advice can help the animals out. Pet owners who respond poorly or continue to neglect the animal should be reported.