Across the country, everyone is trying to do what they can to stay warm.  We're feeling many of the cold effects here in Eastern Iowa.  But while you're protecting yourself, don't forget to protect your pets too.

While we're not featuring a pet for this week's Pet Project, the Cedar Rapids Animal Care and Control has a few tips for you to help keep your pets safe this winter.

[Courtesy of CR Animal Care and Control]

  • 1

    Keep your cat inside

    This is killing my cat, even though she's an indoor cat.  We take her outside occasionally, and she likes to dig in the snow, but it's just too cold. Outdoors, felines can freeze, become lost or be stolen, injured or killed. During the winter, outdoor cats sometimes sleep under the hoods of cars. When the motor is started, the cat can be injured or killed by the fan belt. If there are outdoor cats in your area, bang loudly on the car hood before starting the engine to give the cat a chance to escape.

  • 2

    Get The Snow Off The Dog

    Although it's cute when the dog comes in looking like the abominable snowman, it's critical to thoroughly get all that snow off of them, especially on their paws. They can ingest salt, antifreeze or other potentially dangerous chemicals while licking his paws. Similarly, his paw pads may bleed from snow or encrusted ice.

  • 3

    Avoid the Hair Cuts

    We all have our favorite style of haircut for our dogs, but over these frigidly cold months, you may want to let the hair grow out a bit.  Never shave your dog down to the skin in the winter.  And, when you bathe your dog in the colder months, be sure to completely dry him before taking him out for a walk.

  • 4

    Never Leave Your Pet In The Car

    The same rule that applies in the hottest months applies in the coldest months.  A car can act as a refrigerator in the winter, holding in the cold and causing the animal to freeze to death.

  • 5

    Mind Their Age

    If your dog is sensitive to the cold due to age, illness or breed type, take him outdoors only to relieve himself.

  • 6

    Is Your Dog Outdoor Active?

    Increase his supply of food, particularly protein, to keep him, and his fur, in tip-top shape. Animals burn more calories in the winter maintaining their body temperature, so be sure that your pet gets enough good quality food to eat and help him stay warm.

  • 7

    Drinking Water Dangers

    If your dog is used to having water outside, you'll need to make sure to take extra precautions.  Make sure their water supply is fresh and not frozen. And don’t use a metal bowl for food and water, as your pet’s tongue can stick to the frozen metal. Use a thick plastic, thermal-type of water dish.. Wider and deeper is better for the water dish than narrow and shallow. This keeps the surface water from freezing longer.

  • 8

    Proper Bedding

    Make sure your companion animal has a warm place to sleep, off the floor and away from all drafts. A cozy dog or cat bed with a warm blanket or pillow is perfect. Of course, they've probably will take usual residence on your bed, in your leg space.

  • 9

    Beware Garage and Driveway Poisons

    Like coolant, antifreeze is a lethal poison for dogs and cats. Be sure to thoroughly clean up any spills from your vehicle, and consider using products that contain propylene glycol rather than ethylene glycol. Visit the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center for more information.

  • 10

    Do They Have Proper Shelter?