BALTIMORE (WJZ) –– As Maryland deals with an arctic blast for the next few days, pet owners are reminded to bring animals inside.

Pets are also at risk for hypothermia and frostbite, due to the colder temperatures.

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Bring pets in from the cold or have a dry, draft-free shelter for them with access to food and water.

The Maryland SPCA offers the following tips to keep your pet safe this winter:

Pets should not be left outside for extended periods of time.
During the winter, outdoor cats sometimes sleep under the hoods of cars. When the motor is started, the cat can be injured or killed by the fan belt. I there are outdoor cats in your area, bang loudly on the car hood before starting the engine to give the cat a chance to escape.

Never let your dog off the leash on snow or ice, especially during a snowstorm, dogs can lose their scent and easily become lost. More dogs are lost during the winter than during any other season, so make sure yours always wears ID tags.

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Thoroughly wipe off your dog’s legs and stomach when he comes in out of the snow or ice. He can ingest salt, antifreeze or other potentially dangerous chemicals while licking his paws, and his paw pads may also bleed from snow or encrusted ice.

Never shave your dog down to the skin in winter, as a longer coat will provide more warmth. Own a short-haired breed? Consider getting him a coat or sweater with a high collar or turtleneck with coverage from the base of the tail to the belly.

Never leave your do or cat alone in a car during cold weather. A car can act as a refrigerator in the winter, holding cold and causing the animal to freeze to death.

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