Cold Weather Safety Tips

The weather outside is frightful, but keeping your pet safe doesn’t have to be! Following these tips will help prevent the cold weather from affecting your pet’s health. Keep your pet indoors as much as possible. Housetrained dogs will need to go outside to relieve themselves, but be sure to limit their time outside. Take shorter walks and increase the indoor enrichment such as trick training and playing to help keep your pet physically and mentally active.

  • Bring a towel on walks to clean off stinging and irritated paws. After your walk, be sure to wash and dry your dog’s feet, legs, and belly to remove ice, salt, and chemicals, and check for cracks in paw pads or redness between toes.
  • If your dog is long-haired, trim the fur around the feet to minimize clinging ice balls, salt crystals, and de-icing chemicals that can irritate feet. Coats or sweaters for short-haired dogs can help them warm.
  • Booties help prevent sand and salt from getting lodged between bare toes and causing irritation. Massaging petroleum jelly or other paw protectants into paw pads before going outside can be a good alternative if your dog doesn’t like wearing booties.
  • Although manufacturers are now adding a bittering agent to make antifreeze less attractive, it is still lethal if ingested. Immediately and thoroughly clean up any spills from your vehicle.
  • If it’s too cold for you, it’s probably too cold for your pet, so keep your pet indoors! If left outside, pets can get frostbite or even freeze to death. By law, if your dog or cat must live outside, you must provide adequate shelter and bedding. 
  • In cold weather, cats that are allowed outside may climb up inside the hood of a car or in a wheel well seeking warmth and shelter. This can lead to injuries or death when the engine is started. To prevent these incidents, keep your cat indoors at all times. To protect other cats, knock on your car’s hood or beep your horn before starting your car in cold weather.