The snow is falling, the days are shorter and this year is quickly coming to a close. We often find ourselves wanting to stay in bed just a few minutes longer before having to brave the dark cold morning. As difficult as winter can be for us humans, it can often be just as trying for our canine, feline and other small, furry companions. Here are our top 15 tips for keeping your pets safe in winter.
- Cats are the masters of hiding- sometimes in places they shouldn’t be! Make sure to check under the hood of your car, sheds and garages for your feline friends. Stray cats especially will seek shelter in these places during cold winter nights.
- If weather becomes especially cold, try to keep your pet indoors. Cats (and dogs) can develop frostbite and hypothermia when faced with extremely cold temperatures.
- Does your dog have short fur? Thin coats do not protect well against cold weather. A dog sweater may be the perfect solution for keeping your dog cozy during blustery weather.
- Your pet will probably be spending more time indoors than usual, especially if you have a dog. Your house needs to be properly pet proofed so that your furry friends do not get into any mischief when you aren't looking.
- Salt on the roads make driving much safer, but can be harsh on your dogs paws. If your dog is refusing to walk or lifting their paws in an unusual way, they may be telling you that they are sore! Washing your dog’s paws off after a walk is a must in these conditions. You can find options for paw safety in winter here
- Do not let your dog walk on frozen lakes or creeks. Animals can not sense thin ice and can fall into the cold water below. This can be incredibly dangerous for you and your pet. Keeping your dog on a leash when walking in areas with frozen lakes is critical.
- Having a disaster kit is crucial for humans and pets. Blizzards and other harsh weather patterns can cause power outages and other utility shortages. Include your pets in your disaster preparedness strategy to ensure safety.
- Having a plan in case your pet escapes is crucial, especially in winter when the weather may compromise your pet’s safety. Make sure your cat or dog has a microchip or collar so that they may be returned if they become lost.
- Antifreeze is highly poisonous to pets. Clean up any antifreeze spills as soon as they happen.
- Make sure all of your pets are drinking plenty of water. It is easy for pets (and people!) to forget to stay hydrated when it is cold out. Keep water dishes full and fresh at all times.
- Puppies and Kittens are not as well equipped to handle harsh weather conditions. The same is true for senior animals. Be sure to take extra precautions in caring for these age ranges.
- If your pet manages to get their coat wet during their time outdoors, take the time to dry them off as soon as you can. An animal’s fur is less effective at keeping them warm when it is wet.
- With short days and generally darker weather, it can be hard to see pedestrians on the road. Wearing reflective clothing is crucial for human safety and for pet safety! It's important for you and your pet to stay visible while walking.
- Smaller animals such as rodents and rabbits require extra caution in the winter time as well. If your animal lives in a hutch outdoors, you should bring it indoors during harsher weather conditions.
- Lastly, make sure your pet has had a recent preventative care exam, within the last year. This is especially important if your pet is older or has arthritis. Your vet will offer the best tips and solutions to keeping your pet safe during the winter months.
General Tips for All Pets
We hope you've find these tips helpful while caring for your pet this winter! For more information on keeping your pet healthy and safe this winter, check out the articles below: