Winter Pet Care

by Lee Chambers



Your pets may have different opinions about cold weather (and being outside in it), but whether they love it or hate it, you can help keep them safe during wintertime. Here’s how:

Let it Grow...or Wrap it Up

  • Let your pets' coat grow a little longer in wintertime to ward off the chill. If they usually get a short cut from the groomer in the summer, you'll want to skip that in the cold weather months

  • For short-haired dogs, you might want to get them a coat or a sweater that wraps them up in warmth from neck to tail and around the abdomen

  • Remember, just because they have fur doesn't mean that your pets can withstand bitter winter temperatures. Keep them inside both day and night to provide maximum warmth

Salt, Ice & Antifreeze

  • When pets come in from outside, thoroughly clean their paws, legs and abdomen to remove toxic salt and chemicals found on driveways and sidewalks. Symptoms of toxic ingestion include excessive drooling, vomiting and depression. Contact your veterinarian right away if your pet has these symptoms

  • Remove any ice balls that form on your pets when they’re outside; they can cause frostbite

  • Frostbitten skin usually appears pale or gray. Wrap the area in a dry towel to warm it and check with your veterinarian if you suspect frostbite

  • Antifreeze tastes appealing to pets, and even a small amount can be deadly. Contact your veterinarian if you think your pet has ingested antifreeze

  • Consider using nontoxic antifreeze products that contain propylene glycol rather than ethylene glycol

  • Clean all antifreeze spills immediately

Leash Up

  • When you're walking your dog during a storm, keep them on a leash. Storm conditions often mean reduced visibility, and dogs can become lost easily.

  • Be sure to microchip your pets (cats and dogs) and put ID tags on them as well

  • Stay with your pets when they're outside for a bathroom break to ensure their safety

  • Leash your dogs if you live by frozen ponds, lakes or rivers. Free-roaming pets can break through ice and die from hypothermia before rescuers can arrive. Don't attempt an ice rescue yourself; let trained professionals handle it

Hit the Hood!

  • Cats (and some small, wild animals) left outside sometimes seek shelter and heat under the hoods of automobiles and can be injured or killed when the ignition is turned on. Bang loudly on the hood of your car before starting it to avoid a tragic situation

Party Time

  • If you’re hosting a New Year’s Eve bash or already planning a big Super Bowl blowout, skip the loud noisemakers that can scare pets, or cause damage to sensitive ears

  • Consider giving pets a quiet, escape-proof room during your parties, complete with fresh water and a place to snuggle (litter box too, for the kitty)

  • If pets are roaming freely around the party, be sure food is kept out of their reach. Lots of popular party foods are dangerous if consumed by family pets, especially in large quantities.

  • Be sure to keep the trash bins secure and empty the trash often


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