17 Winter Safety Tips for Pets

Blog January 6, 2020

 Unsplash Photo Community - Ian Matyssik

Winter! It seems like a very magical season, and isn't it fun to go out there and play out in the snow? We bet some of your pets are wagging their tails at the sight of snow. But no matter how fun snow season is, there are still some precautions we must take note of this winter. The fact is that winter is too cold, so you get to spend most of your time indoors, and the same goes for your pets. To keep your pet safe and healthy this winter, here are a few tips to remember.

  1. Before going out

    Before going out, massage your pet's paws with petroleum jelly to protect their feet from salt and chemicals. Booties (dog boots) can help in preventing your pets from itchy flaking skin, and from licking their paws, which can be dangerous. Also, remember to check the temperature before going out. When the temperature is below 20F, your pet should be inside to prevent frostbite on their nose, ears, tails, and feet.

  2. Winter walks

    Is the sun out? Go out and exercise only in the late mornings or early afternoon and let them walk or play outdoors only when it's sunny, but time outdoors must be limited. While outside, keep your pets from licking their paws, and especially the floor. Dangerous chemicals from ice-melting agents may be licked off from bare feet. Always bring a towel along to clean off stinging or irritated paws. Also, do not allow your pet to lick anything from driveways or roadways as your pets may not be too careful in choosing antifreeze products or chemicals. Again, booties can help.

  3. Off-leash? It's a no-no

    Always keep your pets on their leash. Though trust your pet not to run away in walks, in winter, there are many dangers about out in the streets. For example, your pet walking on iced water can lead to ice falls when not fully frozen. Another risk is your pet can accidentally be hit by vehicles like snowplows.

  4. Warm jackets

    Let your pet wear jackets, sweaters, or high collar turtlenecks to keep them warm in winter. This is a must, especially for short-haired dogs.

  5. Cars can act as refrigerators

    Only bring your pets out if needed. Never leave your pet inside a vehicle, especially in harsh seasons like summer and winter. Temperature is heightened inside the car. Cars can hold in the cold and act as refrigerators, possibly freezing your pet to death.

    Unsplash Photo Community - Mat Reding
    Photo by Mat Reding on Unsplash
  6. Cats in your car

    Before starting your engine, bang on your car's hood or honk your horn. Outdoor cats would most likely seek refuge under the hood of your vehicle because of its warm engines.

  7. Antifreeze and coolants

    Antifreeze and coolants are deadly poisons for your pets. Keep pets away from these chemicals and thoroughly remove any trace of these after use. When buying, consider using products that contain propylene glycol rather than ethylene glycol. Pet-friendly antifreeze is also available just to prevent your pet from poisoning in case it comes to contact with it. Ingesting antifreeze is a severe emergency. Contact your veterinarian immediately.

  8. Attention on pet's feet!

    After walks, immediately remove snowballs stuck in-between your pet's footpads. Don't forget to wash and dry your pet's feet to remove ice, salt, or chemicals in feet and check for cracks on paw pad or redness in your pet's toes. Doing this not only will this avoid your pet from walking difficulties, but this can also prevent your pet from skin irritation and upset stomach.

  9. Yes to trimming, no to cutting

    The longer the fur, the better to give your pet some extra warmth in winter. Don't shave your dog down to its skin.

  10. Pet-proof your home

    Your fireplace and wood-burning stoves must be screened to prevent your pet from getting near them and burning themselves. This is especially true for space heaters. Not only can they burn themselves, but once knocked over, it can cause a fire in your home.

  11. Pet baths? Not too often, no.

    Give your pets a bath as little as possible. This can remove natural essential oils from your pet, making their skin dry and flaky. As it's still necessary to give your pets a bath, give them some moisturizing shampoo and conditioner to help their skin be kept moisturized.

  12. More food or less food?

    Is your pet super active in winter? Then yes, a little more food should be given to your pet to replace the energy they use to keep themselves warm or playing out in the snow. On the contrary, some pets may not want to go out even for a potty break, so these dogs will need less food. If your pet spends the majority of their time at home in winter and there is no significant spike in their activity best to keep their diet regular. Ask your vet about modifying your pet's diet.

  13. Indoor exercises

    Is your pet not keen on moving around? Ensure your pet stays fit by playing with your pet indoors. If your pet is food motivated, use this opportunity for your pet to move around. You can incorporate play during mealtime and let them follow some tracks, throw a kibble, and have them chase it down the hallway.

  14. More tepid water, please!

    Always give your pet a fresh supply of water to keep it hydrated and prevent skin from getting dry at all times. Try using plastic or ceramic water bowls rather than metal to prevent them from being cold.

  15. Keep warm and cozy at home

    Wouldn't you sometimes wish that you could just camp inside the whole winter and not go out in the chilly, snowy weather? Your pets feel the same way too! Keep in mind that if it's too cold for you outside, the same goes for your pets. Remember as well that young and senior pets are extra sensitive to cold, tuck them up with a warm blanket when there in bed.

  16. Blizzard Checklist

    If you're located in a blizzard prone area, best to have a look on your blizzard checklist ready and make sure you're all stocked up. Consider in your list the things your pets might need too such as blankets, flashlights (battery operated), clean water, lots of pet food, pet medications. Best to have these things kept in one place for your easy access.

  17. Whole-year round prevention

    It is common knowledge that fleas and ticks are most active in warm weather, but this doesn't mean the threat stops in winter. Though inactive in looking for a host in winter, they become opportunists waiting for their next prey to come and for them to grab onto. So, do you still need to protect your pets from fleas and ticks this winter? The answer; definitely yes!

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