Cold Weather Pet Safety

Dog in snow

How to Protect Your Pet When the Weather Turns Cold

Cold weather can be dangerous for your pet's health, causing ailments ranging from skin irritations to frostbite. These six tips will help you keep your pet safe and comfortable no matter how low the temperature drops.

1. Use Pet-Safe Antifreeze

Antifreeze may not look very appetizing to you, but animals are drawn to its sweet scent. Licking a small puddle of antifreeze can cause kidney failure and even death in pets. Since you never know when your radiator will spring a leak, it's a good idea to replace your antifreeze with a pet-safe version.

Before adding pet-safe antifreeze, flush out the old antifreeze and dispose of it. If you just top off the antifreeze with the pet-safe type, your pet may still be at risk. Wipe up antifreeze spills and puddles immediately to protect your pet and other animals.

2. Pay Extra Attention to Your Pet's Paws and Pads

Frozen surfaces, rock salt, and ice-melting chemicals can be hard on your pet's paws. Wipe off your pet's paws after every walk or outdoor play session to prevent painful irritation. Applying a liberal coat of petroleum jelly to your dog or cat's paws before going outside can be a good preventative measure.

Pet-sized boots and booties offer another option. The footwear prevents paws and pads from coming in contact with dangerous substances and also reduces slips and falls on icy surfaces.

Paw inspections are particularly important on snowy or icy days. Remove clumps of snow and ice stuck between your pet's toes promptly to prevent irritation or frostbite.

3. Limit Outside Time on Freezing Cold Days

Your pet's natural fur coat makes chilly days more comfortable but may not offer adequate protection on very cold days. If it's so cold that you don't want to spend more than a few minutes outside, bring your pet inside. Although dog houses can provide some degree of shelter from the wind, your pet will still be affected by the cold and could develop frostbite if left outside for too long.

Some dogs will be more comfortable wearing sweaters when venturing out on cold days. A sweater may be a good idea for short-haired or hairless pets, old, young, frail, or sick animals.

4. Make Sure Your Pet Wears Tags

It's never a good time to lose your pet, but the winter is a particularly bad time for your furry friend to go missing. Bad weather can complicate your search and put your pet's life in jeopardy. A collar with a tag may decrease the amount of time your lost pet spends outdoors before it's reunited with you.

Put an ID tag on your dog or cat even if your pet is microchipped. Veterinary offices and shelters will have microchip readers, but good samaritans won't have these devices.

5. Protect Your Pet from Indoor Hazards

It only takes a second for an injury to occur if your pet is near a fireplace, heater, or lit candle. Place a baby gate enclosure around your fireplace or heater to prevent your pet from wandering too close. Sparks from the fire can cause burns, as can a brush with a heater.

If you use a kerosene heater, it's particularly important to keep the unit away from your pets. Your playful dog or cat could knock over the heater, starting a fire. Battery-operated flameless candles are a better choice if you have a curious cat or dog. The candles provide all the ambiance of the real thing, yet don't pose a fire hazard.

6. Don't Leave Your Pet in a Cold Car

Most people know that hot cars can quickly kill pets and children during the summer months. Unfortunately, cold cars are just as dangerous. The ASPCA notes that cars tend to hold in the cold, acting as refrigerators. If you'll be out of the car for more than 10 minutes, bring your pet with you or better yet, leave it at home.

Do you have a question about your pet's health or need to schedule an appointment? Contact our office and let us know how we can help you.

Sources:

ASPCA: Cold Weather Safety Tips

WebMD: Pet Winter Safety: Prepping Your Pet for Winter Weather

American Veterinary Medical Association: Cold Weather Animal Safety

Your First Visit is FREE

Sign up now

Office Hours

Change in hours due to COVID-19

Monday:

8:30 am

5:00 pm

Tuesday:

8:30 am

6:00 pm

Wednesday:

8:30 am

5:00 pm

Thursday:

8:30 am

6:00 pm

Friday:

8:30 am

6:00 pm

Saturday:

8:30 am

2:00 pm

Sunday:

Closed

Location

Find us on the map

Testimonial

Read What Our Clients Say

  • "Kind and caring staff during a difficult time- thankyou for your professionalism with my beloved dog."
    Dorie K. Selkirk, Manitoba

Featured Articles

Read about interesting topics

  • Skunks

    Home and Veterinary Care for Pet Skunks If you're an adventurous pet owner, you may love exotic animals such as skunks. You'll be happy to learn that skunks can indeed make excellent domestic pets, but only if they receive the proper care to enjoy a happy, healthy life. Your veterinary team can help ...

    Read More
  • Sugar Gliders

    Thinking of getting a sugar glider? These tiny marsupials are energetic and friendly, making them popular choices as pets. Though they weigh less than a half-pound, they're more closely related to kangaroos than they are flying squirrels. If you think a sugar glider would make an ideal pet for your family, ...

    Read More
  • Flying Squirrels

    Much like sugar gliders, flying squirrels make affectionate pets when purchased young and raised by their owner. Unlike sugar gliders, however, flying squirrels are rodents that need veterinary care specific to the species. Your veterinary team can help with the care and treatment of flying squirrels. ...

    Read More
  • Rats

    Did you know rats make surprisingly affectionate pets? If you're thinking of bringing home a pet rat, here's what you need to know. Health Rats that are bred especially as pets are safe to keep and should be free of disease. But common conditions may affect your rats from time to time. Your veterinarian ...

    Read More
  • Chinchillas

    Chinchillas are playful, loveable, and amusing pets. If you want yours to remain in your family for long, you should ensure that it has a good diet. Chinchillas require a lot of attention due to their playful nature; therefore, it is best to have supervised playtime with yours if you want to create a ...

    Read More
  • Fennec Foxes

    Fennec Fox Care Guide With oversized ears and mischievous faces, fennec foxes are cute as can be. But these exotic pets require a lot of care to stay healthy and happy. Health At just three pounds, fennec foxes are the smallest member of the fox family. Native to the Sahara desert, fennec foxes are ...

    Read More
  • Guinea Pigs

    Curious and inquisitive by nature, guinea pigs make great pets. These little bundles of fur are quite social and enjoy spending time with the people who handle, feed, and groom them. As a pet, guinea pigs are relatively low maintenance, rarely aggressive, and fun to own. How to Care Guinea pigs are playful, ...

    Read More
  • Prairie Dogs

    Prairie dogs are cute, affable creatures. But before taking one on as a pet, check your local laws. In some states, such as Colorado, it's illegal to keep prairie dogs as pets. Mostly, this is because they may spread monkeypox. If you live in a state that welcomes pet prairie dogs, be sure to buy from ...

    Read More
  • Gerbils

    Gerbils are great little pets for pet owners who don't have room for a dog or cat. They're friendly and fun to watch, but they do take a moderate level of care and investment. If you're thinking of getting a gerbil, here's what you'll need to know to keep him happy and healthy, including giving him a ...

    Read More
  • Hedgehogs

    Shy animals that roll into a ball when scared, hedgehogs are covered with spiky quills. They're small, clean, and fun to watch so they're quite popular as pets. Even so, these little guys need lots of activity to stay healthy. Health Hedgehogs can have health problems, including dental diseases, skin ...

    Read More

Newsletter Signup

Sign up for more articles