Keep your pets safe in a snow storm

Snow falls as Justyna Stachowicz runs with her Snow falls as Justyna Stachowicz runs with her dog Dingo at Military Park in downtown Newark, N.J., (Dec. 26, 2012)

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Pets, wrapped in their fur coats, may look sturdy when it comes to cold temperatures, but they can be impacted as severely as humans. Add blizzard conditions into the mix and there's even more to consider.

The folks at BluePearl Veterinary Partners, with specialty and emergency hospitals in Brooklyn, Manhattan and Queens, offer the following precautions for Fido, Fluffy and your other pets during a blizzard and throughout the cold-weather months:

1. Clean those paws when you come inside.

Those tiny toes can get ice and snow embedded in them, which can cause irritation. Further, common deicers contain chemicals that, if licked, can result in illness.

Two easy fixes: Rinse and wipe off paws after your pets come back inside and, if you can, have your animal wear protective booties.

2. Prevent frostbite.

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Pets should only be outside in cold temperatures for short bursts; otherwise, they can get frostbite. Take your cat or dog to a vet immediately if it shows signs of frostbite, which include shivering and change of color (redness in early stages, white or patchiness as it progresses).

3. Keep those ID tags on.

If your animal accidentally escapes, it may have a tough time finding its way home. Scents are masked by snow and ice, making it easier for your guy or gal to get lost.

4. Don't leave your pet in the car.

Think of how cold your car is when the heat is off. Because a car holds in the cold, an animal could freeze to death.

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5. Don't start your car in the garage with a pet nearby.

Carbon monoxide gets trapped quickly, which can be fatal to a small animal in a matter of minutes.

6. Keep away from bodies of water.

If you live near a pond, for instance, a pet could step on thin ice and quickly be in danger.

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