The last few days have been unpleasant for humans with our bare skin, but the frigid temperatures are affecting our little friends with built-in fur coats, according to animal experts.

According to veterinarian Karen Goldenberg, cats and dogs can be at risk of hypothermia and frostbite if they’re outside for too long. She recommended keeping cats indoors if possible and to decrease the amount of time dogs spend walking and playing outside.

“I say decrease by at least 50 per cent,” she said. “If you’re used to taking an hour-long walk, make it a maximum 30 minutes.”

Goldenberg said one way to keep dogs’ paws clean and healthy is to use your fingers or a towel and run it between their toes to remove ice and salt.

At the Ecomuseum, where all the animals are native to Quebec, many non-hibernating were out and about on Thursday, seemingly unaffected by the cold. Zoologist Jennifer Cyr Devine said that wild animals have developed techniques to deal with the cold over eons of evolution.

“As you can imagine, fur in the winter gets thicker, so those animals like the caribou or the arctic foxes are super well adapted for this winter cold weather,” she said. “Other animals, such as our birds, well those guys are well adapted because they have all these puffy feathers. When they want to keep an extra layer of warmth near their bodies, they puff out a little bit.”