Dogs love playing out in the snow. It is our responsibility to keep them safe. Here are some tips from Montana Veterinary Hospital and Boarding to keep your pets safe and comfortable this winter. When temperatures drop below 20 degrees, dogs are susceptible to hypothermia and frostbite.

When a dogs temperature drops too low, hypothermia can occur. There are different levels of hypothermia. Shivering and weakness are mild symptoms of hypothermia. Slow, shallow breathing and muscle stiffness are signs of more moderate hypothermia. Symptoms of severe hypothermia are dilated or fixed pupils, difficulty breathing, and coma. Hypothermia can be prevented by avoiding long amounts of time spent outside during these cold temperatures. Dogs at higher risk for hypothermia are very young or old dogs, or dogs with low body fat. If you suspect hypothermia, wrap your dog in a warm blanket and take immediately to your veterinarian.

Frostbite develops when animals are outside in freezing temperatures for long periods of time. Signs of frostbite are skin discoloring, swelling, and pain. Frostbite normally occurs on ears, paws, and the tail. If you suspect frostbite, wrap your pet in a warm blanket and take immediately to your veterinarian.

Antifreeze is extremely dangerous for animals. Just a small amount can be fatal. Signs of antifreeze poisoning are vomiting, diarrhea, seizure and fainting. Seek care immediately if you suspect your pet was exposed to antifreeze.

Some dogs need an extra layer when Spending time outside in the winter. Items that will keep your dog comfortable in the cold weather are boots and a coat. When choosing a good coat, look for durable, washable, and water resistant material. The coat should be snug, but not too snug. Your dog needs to be able to be mobile. Check for rubbing that can cause discomfort. Boots will protect your dogs' feet from cold and ice, if you can keep them on your dog. When choosing a boot, look for a breathable and durable material. Texture helps with traction. Velcro straps are helpful for adjustment.

We are so fortunate to live in this beautiful area. Hopefully, you can get outside and enjoy it this winter with your furry friend.