If you are decreasing the length and frequency of your dog's walks, make sure he or she still gets adequate exercise.

If your pets are outside a lot in the winter, they will need more calories to produce body heat, so increase the amount you feed them. But don't overfeed an already hefty animal.

Conversely, if your pets get very little exercise during winter, decrease their food intake to avoid excess weight gain.

While looking out for your own pets should be a priority, don't forget to watch for strays or neighborhood animals that also spend their time outdoors.

Honk first

The Humane Society advises you to slap the hood of your car or honk the horn before starting the engine on cold days to startle any animal that may have crawled underneath seeking shelter and warmth.

And just as you wouldn't leave an animal inside a hot car in summer, don't leave your pets in your car in winter.

Finally, if you live in a warm climate, don't think you're off the hook. Even in places such as Florida, winter temperatures, normally in the mid- to high 70s, can plummet 30 degrees or more in the course of a day.

"Don't leave pets outside if you're going to be gone for several hours," says South Florida veterinarian Dr. Amy Balko. "Bring them in the house or make sure they have access to shelter if the temperature suddenly drops.

"All pet experts agree on one thing -- if it's too cold for you to go outside for prolonged periods of time, then it's too cold for your pets.