Cold weather safety tips for cats, dogs

Sweaters can keep pets with short fur warm in the winter. (Oli Scarff/Getty Images)

DETROIT - Temperatures are dropping, and pets can be harmed by cold weather. 

View: Metro Detroit Weather 

To keep pets safe when it's cold outside, be aware of weather warnings and be prepared for winter storms by having a pet emergency kit stocked in your home.

When taking pets for walks, keep them on a leash because they can get lost in snowstorms or fall through frozen bodies of water.

Related: What to do if you lose your dog or find a missing dog

Keep your pet's fur long in the winter. Jackets and sweaters can be used to keep short-haired animals warm.

Don't take pets outside after a bath until they are fully dry. When they do go outside, stay with them to make sure they are safe in the cold.  Don't let cats outside because they can easily freeze.

When pets come inside, clean salt off their paws, legs and bodies. Also, wipe ice off of them and check their paws, legs and tail for gray, frostbitten skin.

If the animal appears to have frostbite, warm the area with a towel or blanket and contact a veterinarian. 

It's also recommended that you bang loudly on the hood of your car before starting it in the winter, as cats often seek shelter under the hood of cars. 

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