If you're like most pet owners, you want your canine companion to have a long, happy, and comfortable life — but you may also have some misconceptions that could adversely affect the health and safety of your pet. For instance, many people erroneously believe that because their dog has a built-in fur coat, that means the animals don't experience the cold in the same way as their human counterparts. However, as mammals, dogs have more similarities to us than differences, and one of those similarities is that cold weather conditions have the potential to cause them harm. Dogs can experience frostbite and hyperthermia, and cold conditions come with other risks for them as well.

Following are three strategies for keeping your furry friend safe and well when outdoor temperatures plunge below freezing:

Buy Booties for Your Dog

Even though the pads on the bottom of dogs' feet are made of some pretty tough stuff, they can still be damaged by shards of ice or common de-icing chemicals used to hasten the melting process of snow and ice. Protective booties worn during walks will help protect your dog's feet from winter hazards. As an added bonus, you can use them in the summer when walking your dog over hot surfaces such as pavement or sand. 

Have Your Dog Microchipped

Dogs depend highly on their sense of smell for navigation purposes, and this is often how they find their way back home after somehow becoming lost. Having your pet microchipped is a good way to increase the chances that you'll be reunited in the event that it gets lost. This is important even for pets that are strictly indoors slips out the door and decides to go exploring. 

Be Mindful of Antifreeze

Winter is also antifreeze season, and because this substance has a sweet taste, dogs often lap it up quickly thinking it's a delicious sweet treat. However, antifreeze is poison with the potential to be fatal for dogs. Always check your own driveway for telltales signs of an antifreeze leak — it's red — as well as the surfaces of the parking lot of the park where you take your furry friend to frolic. Never allow your dog to drink from mud puddles because you don't know what else is in them besides water.

No matter what time of year, it's always a good idea for those who share their homes and hearts with canine companions to have the contact information of their nearest 24-hour emergency vet clinic handy, like https://emergencypetclinics.com/ and other sites. This ensures that you don't waste valuable time searching that information in the event that your pet experiences a medical emergency.