Winter + Pets: Cool Tips on Cold Weather Safety

Winter Paw PrintExtreme temperatures can be a bit of a wild card when it comes to caring for pets. On top of their regular maintenance, the weather is another [large] contributor when it comes to keeping them safe. Despite being beautiful to look at, those blankets of snow don’t exactly keep pets warm and cozy.

Insufficient shelter and bedding are the biggest threats to pets in cold weather. While we’re total advocates of allowing pets indoors, we understand not everyone is a fan of pet hair getting on, well, everything. If your pet spends a majority of their day outside during the colder months, it’s imperative to get them a sturdy, weatherproof enclosure that’s large enough for comfort but not so large that it doesn’t retain heat. We also recommend positioning the house in the opposite direction of the wind during really adverse weather. Provide your animal with thick bedding and consider putting some blankets out there as well. There are even pet-safe heating pads available for purchase, which can serve as a nice peace of mind that your pet stays warm.

Sunburn and frostbite are two very real threats if your pet spends a lot of time outside. While you can utilize sunscreen or a warm water soak, consult your veterinarian to determine the best products and course of action to prevent and treat these ailments.

Ice melting chemicals and salts can burn pets’ footpads. While there are pet-friendly versions, you can’t guarantee your neighbors are using them. You may want to consider getting some dog booties – they take a little getting used to, but it protects their paws from everything, including sharp objects that could be hidden in the snow. If you think your pet’s walked through salt or melting chemicals, wash their paws and monitor for any irritation. If you notice blistering or skin discoloration, call your veterinarian.

Monitor pets’ water – if it freezes, pets can resort to drinking out of puddles or other stagnant water, which is no good. Don’t worry, this doesn’t mean you have to go out there with a pot of boiling water every hour, there are convenient bowls that hook up to hoses and keep water circulating so it won’t freeze.

For other great tips from us, head to our Learning Center.

Now, if only we could train our pets to shovel the driveway!

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