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Protecting your pet's paws ahead of an upcoming cold spell

Long exposure to freezing temperatures and cold surfaces can cause harm to your pet.

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Veterinarians at Ohio State University want to remind pet owners to limit exposure outside with the upcoming cold spell.

Long exposure to freezing temperatures and cold surfaces can cause harm to your pet.

Not only can surfaces be slippery which poses a risk of falling, but frostbite from collected snow can be painful if left unattended.

Dr. Edward Cooper, a small animal emergency veterinarian at Ohio State, says even rock salt left behind can be harmful.

"If that salt gets stuck in their paw pads, that can be irritating. When they get inside, they try to lick it off and that can be irritating to their intestinal tract," Cooper said.

Chemicals like rock salt and antifreeze can be poisonous to most animals.

The best thing to do when your pet returns inside is to wipe down their paws with a damp rag.

It may be tempting to take in a stray animal during the brutal cold but Dr. Cooper suggests using caution when approaching any animals that you are not familiar with.

“It’s very nice bringing them into your own household, especially if the shelter is closed, but do so with caution. If you can, provide shelter overnight and then take them to the shelter or the humane society the next day” Cooper said.