Keep Your Pets Safe in Cold Weather

If you live in an area where Old Man Winter packs a punch, it’s important that you take extra care of your pets to keep them comfortable and healthy. Here are some steps you can take to help protect your furry friends from the elements.

Pet in Cold Weather

Spend more time indoors.
In frigid weather, it’s best to keep your pet indoors longer and shorten walks to help prevent frostbite or hypothermia. This is especially true for shorthaired or short-legged pets that feel the cold faster. Don’t be shy about putting a sweater or coat on your pet to help it stay warm. Your pet will appreciate the extra layer of insulation and make a fashion statement at the same time.

Keep your pets dry.
No one wants to be caught in wet clothing during the winter, and the same goes for wet fur. If your pet’s coat gets wet from snow or freezing rain, it loses most of its insulating ability, which allows the cold to set in quickly. Get your pet inside promptly and dry it off well with a thick towel. Spread out a fluffy blanket to help your pet dry off and warm up quickly.

Feed and water frequently.
If your pet does spend time outdoors in the winter, be sure it has plenty of food and fresh water. In the cold, your pet uses up more energy to generate the body heat it needs to stay warm. That’s why it’s important to give your pet plenty of food to provide the extra calories needed for warmth.

Watch for road salt and deicers.
Ice melts and chemicals can cause problems for pets, so always be on guard during winter walks. Road salt irritates paws and can cause painful stinging, cracking and even bleeding. Check your pet’s paws after each walk and wipe or wash them down so your pet isn’t tempted to lick them clean. Better yet, purchase a pair of pet booties.

Avoid accidental poisoning.
Unfortunately, antifreeze has a sweet and tempting taste to animals, and ingesting it can sicken or kill them. Always store antifreeze properly, and immediately clean up any spills near your vehicle to avoid accidental poisoning. Also, be careful to place toxic plants like poinsettias, holly berries and mistletoe out of the reach of cats and dogs. Keep medications and cleaning chemicals in areas that your pet can’t get into.