DR. KAREN SPIECE, of the Mountaintop Animal Hospital, and Jill Sabulski, vet assistant, smile with Spiece’s dogs, Capone, a lab mix, and Carter, a Cavalier King Charles spaniel. Spiece gave tips this week on how to avoid frostbite and hypothermia in pets during the wintertime.

Capone and Carter, at the vet office with her, ensuring that they were in a warm, safe environment.

Neither Mountaintop veterinarian has seen hypothermic pets this year, they said, but other years it has occurred where people have forgotten to bring their pets in or the animals have gotten lost outside for a length of time.

As for other pets, such as rodents or birds, they should be kept in warm areas as well. Wild birds become naturally accustomed to the cold, Bell noted, but domesticated varieties can die if they get too cold. They should be kept in a warm environment with their cages covered at night.

More susceptible areas for frostbite on dogs are the ears, tail, and paws, Spiece explained. While she hasn’t seen frostbite on dogs in her two decades practicing veterinary medicine, Spiece said that she has seen it happen to cats that are allowed to roam outside. “We can’t do anything for that,” she added. “It basically deforms them for life.”

Another issue is salt on sidewalks or roads. While paws are tougher than human skin, they still can be burned or irritated by salt. “If you take your pet outside for walks, clean any ice melt or salt off of their feet with a towel when you come in,” stated Spiece. If the pads of a pet’s feet are cracked, an owner can apply petroleum jelly.

Ice can also be a danger to dogs and cats as they can slip and fall when running or walking on icy surfaces, Bell concluded. He’s seen animals with broken bones from falls on ice, so it’s best to guide a dog slowly with a leash if walking on ice is necessary.