How to care for your pets in the frigid cold weather

DENVER -- The Alaskan cold front that has been described as a "cold slap in the face" has hit Denver, and it's left the State of Colorado shivering. 

If the humans of Colorado are shivering despite coats and clothes, imagine how cold our four-legged companions are. 

1.) The first tip for pet owners is a common sense one -- if it's too cold for your skin to be uncovered, it's too cold for pets to remain outside for extended periods of time. 

Pay attention to the signs, including dogs or cats attempting to keep their feet off the pavement, signifying their paws are freezing. 

Some other tips may be helpful for those who haven't endured a harsh winter before, or need a refresher course on pet ownership. 

2.) Dry off your pet with a towel as soon as you bring the pet inside. 

When water evaporates, it takes heat with it. So one of the best options for warming a cold pet up is using a towel to rub down and dry off a pet after bringing them indoors. This both removes water, preventing evaporation, and uses friction to help generate warmth. 

3.) Don't give your dogs haircuts in the harsh winter. 

Dogs have fur for a reason, and it grows to lengths that will help keep the animal warm in the winter. Cutting a dog's hair too short can lead to the dog becoming too cold too quickly. 

4.) Many snow/ice fighting chemicals are dangerous for pets. 

The pads on your pet's paws are very similar to skin, meaning the chemicals used to fight ice and more could very well hurt your pets by burning their skin or making them ill. The second pets are brought in the house, wash their feet and brush them off to make sure no chemicals are in their fur. 

5.) Bathing your pets as infrequently as possible, or doing the chore indoors. 

Bathing your pets during the winter is risky business. It could play with their body temperature and as it can take time for fur to dry out, it could be dangerous when they run outside. 

Any moisture in fur will freeze when going outdoors in the winter, so ensure you have a heat source to help pets dry off when they are washed. 

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