It's important to keep pets safe during cold weather. If you are cold, it's likely your pets are cold too. 

Dr. Andrea Clarke, Veterinarian with the Prairie Animal Health Centre in Weyburn, said that some pets spend a lot of time outside during the winter. 

"Those with better hair coats and such can tolerate a bit more, but, even then, you still have to watch for wind chill factors. It doesn't have to be very cold, but the wind chill can make things a lot worse for animals, too, just like for us." 

Dr. Clarke said that a lot of pets don't have protection on their foot pads.

"They might have a bit of hair around them, but not much so they can even get frostbite on their feet, their ears. In cats we see it on their tails as well so it might not seem that bad to us. But if you're a dog that's outside and doesn't have a place to get out of the wind, it can certainly become very serious, very quickly there."

Dr. Clarke said that a layer of protection like a fleece over your pet's body can be helpful while ensuring a good fit, as snow can get packed between the belly band and the skin in deep snow. She added that a lot of dogs require booties on their feet when it's really cold.

"You definitely have to watch for walking in areas that are salted. Some of those can cause quite a bit of irritation on the feet."

She said they get a lot of calls every winter from people asking why their pets urinated inside when they were just outside.

"Sometimes they just go outside long enough to relieve the pressure, but they're not finishing the job, so you kind of want to be aware of what your animal's doing outside. Especially the smaller dogs or the shorter-haired dogs. They just don't want to do it outside."

Dr. Clarke made mentioned that with milder weather, it's important to be attuned to your pet getting wet from the slush and snow.

"They can still get chilled very quickly, even if it's mild outside."