MILWAUKEE -- As Southeast Wisconsin braces for a frigid weekend -- don't let your furry friends get caught up in the frost. Taking special precautions during the winter months is an important part of keeping your pets safe in bitter cold temperatures.
Molly Griebling, Wisconsin Humane Society Media Coordiantor, says dog owners should limit their pup's time outdoors.
"Unfortunately we've already seen a couple cases of hypothermia in our shelters this year already," said Griebling. "If you're taking your dog out for a walk and you notice they're lifting their paws a bit, and whining, they could be showing signs of the beginning of hypothermia."
She says paw guards or coats will help take the edge off -- but clearing a patch of snow in your yard might be a better option.
"If you have an area with hay, the hay is going to hold in the heat a little more than just having to be on the snow," said Griebling.
And if you do venture out, Griebling suggests wiping your hound's paws when you return to get rid of any salt or antifreeze that could have been picked up.
"We want to make sure the dogs aren't licking that," said Griebling. "Antifreeze is very deadly."
If cats are more your speed, it's time to get cozy.
"Definitely keep your cats inside -- don't let them go outside at all," said Griebling. "It's just way too cold for them."
The cold weather could also be potentially confusing for your feline friends.
"The cold actually obscures scent so animals have a much higher chance of getting lost when there is snow outside," said Griebling.
Griebling also recommends getting your pets micro-chipped, and making sure their tags are updated.
She says outdoor animals will still need protection from the cold, too. For example, livestock will require more food. They should also have a dry place to escape the wind, and daily access to fresh water.