7 tips for protecting your pets from the cold

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CHICAGO -- It has been a frigid week for everyone out there, including your four-legged friends.

WGN checked in with PAWS Chicago and got some great tips on how to keep your pets safe in this weather.

When it's this cold, your dogs and cats shouldn't be outside for more than a few minutes.

PAWS says the best thing to do is take them for a brisk walk, let them do their business, and take them back inside.

"The cold, snow and ice can affect their pads and paws. One thing you can do is trim the fur so ice doesn't form, and put Vaseline on their pads -- that will protect them from getting irritated from the salt," said Sarah Ahlberg, PAWS communication manager.

If you have a small or short haired dog and are taking them out in the cold, fleece lined coats or sweaters like these can help keep their core warm. You can also buy dog booties for their feet.

When it comes to salt on sidewalks, try to buy pet friendly salt for your home.

If they're walking elsewhere and you're concerned, wipe off their paws and stomachs when you get back home because if they lick those areas, that salt can be toxic.

Another reminder: Dogs or cats that get off a leash or run from your yard can often get disoriented in the snow --- it blocks scents they would normally use to find their way home. So, make sure your pet is microchipped or is wearing a tag with your phone number and address.

Also, do not leave your pet in a parked car. Experts say small cats and dogs can freeze to death within an hour.

The main thing is this: If you're cold, your pet is cold.

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