When in winter, with the low temperatures make you bundle up before heading outdoors, just think of what your pet must endure in the freezing cold.

Freezing temperatures can lead to injury or worse, even for animals who love to run and play outside. In some communities, leaving your pet outdoors without proper shelter, food, or freshwater during the winter may run afoul of animal cruelty laws.

There’s little excuse for being uninformed and putting an animal in danger, so here are some tips that will keep your pet comfortable while playing outdoors, and save you from facing a costly vet bill, or worse.

5. GIVE THEM SHELTER

A shelter suitable for animals is identified in some cities of the city as a four-sided structure with a roof and floor, and entrance on one side. Outside these societies, the definition may be much more than ambitious. Hence, allowing for a simple plan of wood to be polished against the wall, despite reports. During the winter, this simple approach will not be sufficient to provide adequate protection from the elements.

According to the Humanitarian Community of the United States, “If your dog is outdoors all day for any reason, you must be protected by a running, fee-free shelter, which allows you to fully move it into a body’s heat contract. The ground should be raised a few Of inches from the ground and covering it with rice or vapor. The door must be covered with water or heavy plastic. ”

4. GIVE THEM FRESHWATER AND FOOD

Our bodies need to work harder to retain heat when it is cold outside. That means we need more calories to survive. The same is true for our furry friends.

For anything longer than a potty break, animals should have access to water that isn’t frozen, as well as food. When the temperatures are below the freezing point, metal bowls should be switched out for plastic. It’s too easy for animals to get their sensitive tongues stuck to freezing metal, which could lead to serious injury.

3. SWEATERS AND VESTS

Pet sweaters and vests aren’t just for people who want their animals looking good in family photos, they provide warmth and comfort when they need it most. During the winter, when cold winds are blowing, that’s pretty much every day.

“No matter what the temperature is, windchill can threaten a pet’s life,” the HSUS reports. “Exposed skin on noses, ears and paw pads are at risk for frostbite and hypothermia during extreme cold snaps. For this reason, short-haired dogs often feel more comfortable wearing a sweater—even during short walks.”

When you come home, use a towel to make sure your pet’s coat and paws are clean and dry. The chemicals used in ice-melting compounds can lead to irritations in hard-to-reach areas, like between toes.

2. STAY ON-LEASH

According to the Great Plains SPCA, more pets go missing in the winter than any other season. A cold blanket of snow can also mask the scent trail they may otherwise use to find their way home.

“Prevent your pets from becoming lost by keeping dogs leashed on walks and, just in case you are separated from your pets, make sure their collars have up-to-date contact information and they are microchipped,” the SPCA advises.

1. LOOK OUT FOR OTHER ANIMALS, TOO

Winter is hard on stray animals, many who may not make it until spring. If you see a stray animal out in the cold, and you have room to take it in until the weather subsides, don’t hesitate to do so. In the meantime, you can check with area shelters and social media groups to see if the animal has been reported missing.

If you don’t have space in your home for a temporary guest, bring the animal to your nearest no-kill shelter. That way, they will at least have shelter, food, water, and the potential of finding a new forever home while they wait out winter.