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Everything you want to know about pets Special To The Star-news | Sat, Jan 29 2011 12:00 PM

The cold-weather months aren't just hard on humans. Pets can also be affected by the chilly temperatures.

Keeping pets safe and happy when it's cold is a major concern for all pet owners. Marc Morrone, renowned pet expert and host of Hallmark Channel's "Petkeeping with Marc Morrone" (airs weekdays at noon), is a modern-day Dr. Dolittle and Martha Stewart's go-to guy in the world of four-legged and winged beasts, from dogs to cats and rabbits to parrots.

On his show, Marc reveals what viewers need to know about caring for their pets, and below are Marc's top tips for winter pet care:

¥ When fitting dogs with boots and sweaters, make sure to practice inside your home first. If your pets aren't comfortable walking around the house in their gear, they will not be comfortable in the outdoors.

¥ Don't forget about the wild animals in the winter. Placing a bird feeder outside your window can mean the difference between life and death for a little songbird.

¥ Keep antifreeze out of reach of pets. It is extremely toxic.

¥ If you own a reptile, keep extra heat lamps on hand during the winter months in case one blows out during a holiday or snowstorm and you can't get out to replace the bulb.

¥ In the winter, dry air causes dogs and cats to shed quite a bit. To combat this, brush your pet daily and add raw flaxseed oil to your pet's food (1 teaspoon for every 10 pounds of your pet's weight). This will help reduce dryness of the skin.

In every episode of "Petkeeping with Marc Morrone," customers stop by with pet in hand seeking Marc's advice on every topic from common cat/dog misconceptions to how to keep children and pets safe and happy while living under the same roof. This season, he looks at plus-size pets, baby pets, older pets, high-maintenance pets and more. He made his national TV debut in 1998 on Martha's show after she spotted him on a New York cable access show. The author of five books, Marc also writes a syndicated pets column for Newsday, hosts "Ask Marc, the Petkeeper" on Martha Stewart Living Radio.

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