As we've mentioned before, we really love our dogs, which is not that surprising when you realize that Wyoming has the highest percentage of pet owners across the country. As such, we like to treat our four legged friends as part of the family. Now that we're starting to settle into the coldest months of the year, it's important to remember that Fido and Fluffy, despite their winter coats, don't handle the cold weather quite like we do. Here are some tips to help keep your best friend safe and warm while the cold weather keeps on coming.

  • 1

    Don't Leave Your Pet in the Car

    Most pet owners remember this tip and take caution in the summer to avoid having their fur babies bake in a car, but it's just as dangerous to leave your pet in an unattended car during the winter. Just as your pet is susceptible to heat stroke in the summer, any pet left unattended in a car is at risk for hypothermia, particularly small dogs. If you're not sure your pet can join you inside where you're going, it's probably safer to leave them at home.

  • 2

    Clean Their Paws

    With the amount of salt and other chemicals laid down to melt the seemingly ever present ice, in addition to the cold weather chapping their skin, taking your dog for a simple walk around the block could hurt their paws. To combat this, dog owners could invest in a set of booties for their pet, or if they know that Fido will refuse to wear them, rub a bit of petroleum jelly on the paws to give them a protective coating against the elements. It's also recommended by the ASPCA to wash your pet's feet in case their paws have come into contact with chemicals.

  • 3

    Keep Your Dog's Coat Trimmed

    While a complete shave is not recommended, keeping your dog's winter coat trimmed can help them minimize the snow and ice balls that can build up when the weather's nasty outside, at least with the long-haired breeds. Short-haired dogs should probably be wearing sweaters and protective gear to brave these Wyoming winters.

  • 4

    Check Your Vehicle

    This is the time of year that stray cats often curl up in the wheel well or other parts of a car for a warm place to stay at night. When starting your car in the morning, please remember to check your vehicle for any cats (or rabbits, or squirrels) that might have thought your car was the perfect place to hide during a blizzard.

  • 5

    Don't Leave Your Pets Outside

    Again, this one should be common sense. If you don't like the temperatures outside, chances are that Fido doesn't like it either, even if he has a magnificent coat to help keep out the elements. It's also recommended to keep your pets from constantly going in and out, as the cold weather can dry out their skin underneath the coat.