Winter pet safety - veterinarian weighs in on what you should know

Winter is here and just as we humans feel the chill - our furry friends do too. It’s not always easy to know how to protect our pets.

"We need to consider not only keeping our pets warm but with the holidays coming up things they might eat, might consume, things to kind of look out for," said Dr. Erica Juszczyk.

All the more reason to consult an expert - meet Juszczyk, a local veterinarian.

FOX 2: "How long should your dog be exposed to the colder temperatures and how long is too long?"

"Even out there for 10 or 15 minutes, that can start to cause some issues," said Juszczyk.

Our pets can also get frostbite and hypothermia, so be on the lookout for signs.

"Any kind of shivering. It’s the same with humans, that’s our body trying to warm us up," she said. "Our main places that they start to get frostbite are the ear tips and the paw pads - that is what’s contacting the snow and the ice."

Speaking of paw pads, be aware of the salt. While it protects humans, it can be very damaging for animals.

"Whenever you go out on a walk with your pet either wipe their pads down with a rag, or warm water," she said. "Or have a little step-in tub for them, so they can get all that chemical off of their paws."

Then there are coats, sweaters and booties. They may look cute, but are they helpful?

"Especially dogs with short hair, our older dogs, and our younger dogs, as much insulation as you can give them," she said.

Alright, for cats a lot of the same rules apply as they relate to weather exposure. However, keep a special on those kitty cats when it comes to the holiday décor.

"Lilies are always an issue, poinsettias are very toxic to cats as well - and then mistletoe and holly. We want to keep (both) dogs and cats away from these in general,"

Watch that Christmas tree tinsel. It is fun, but not for our furry friends.

If you see a dog or cat you believe is abandoned, be sure to call the Michigan Humane Society. Don't try to get collect the animal yourself. Be sure to call for help.

Dr. Erica Juszczyk. is with Jefferson Veterinary Center in Troy. Find more information here.