WEST ALLIS -- Just as Wisconsinites were being reminded there's still plenty of winter left, the 2017 Great Lakes Pet Expo came to West Allis on Saturday, February 4th. It's a good reminder our pets need as much protection from the cold as we do.
Shaking off the cold might be harder than you think for an animal.
"She definitely has a jacket when it's cold and she goes outside," said Lisa Grodey, Greater Racine Kennel Club.
Just because many are covered in fur doesn't make the family dog impervious to cold weather.
"Anytime you feel it's warm in the summer or cold in the winter certainly your pet is feeling the same thing," said Emergency Veterinarian, Doctor Andrew Linklater.
Dr. Andrew Linklater says to remember these are domesticated animals and acclimated to the lifestyle their humans live. Pets can develop frostbite or hypothermia if exposed to cold temperatures -- that's why Lisa Grodey says bathroom breaks should be in and out.
"Really important when you pottytrain your dog to teach them to go out and go potty quickly; that way they go and do their business. If it's a nice day they can wander around and have fun, if it's a cold day they go out and come back in," said Grodey.
While dog fashion is trendy, it serves the same utility as our favorite sweaters and knits.
"If it's below 32 [degrees], i'm very careful if wind chills are below fifteen or ten [degrees], they are in and out right away," said Grodey.
Checking your pet for signs of frostbite is definitely best practice after any extended time in the cold.
"The feet, the tail, the ears, they are going to be painful. You might see that it's red or swollen. In the most extreme cases the tissue will start to turn black," Dr. Linklater said.
Every pet is different so knowing their limits is key but any sign of discomfort should give you a pause.