How to Keep Your Pet Safe in Winter

Chapped paws and itchy, flaky skin can result from exposure to winter’s dry, cold air and chilling rain, sleet, and snow, but these aren’t the only discomforts pets might experience. If ice-melting chemicals are licked off of bare paws when walking in the winter, it can become harmful.

Our four-legged pals need to be prepared for winter just as much as people do because of the chilly temperatures and impending inclement weather. We may not always be aware of some of the additional risks that might arise during the winter months, and if pets are left alone in the cold for an extended period of time, they risk freezing, being disoriented, lost, or hurt.

To help you keep your furry friends warm and safe this winter, have a look at some of our pet safety advice:

Keep Your Pet Safe in Winter

Limitations of Pets

Certain animals are more susceptible to the cold than others. Senior pets, puppies, and kittens are especially susceptible to temperature decreases. The same holds true for pets with short or thin coats. Even if your pets like playing outside, you should limit their time spent there. Make sure kids have on coats, sweaters, and even heavy snowshoes when they do venture outside. Never forget that your pet cannot survive a cold if you cannot.


If possible, keep pets inside

It’s likely too chilly for your pets if it’s too cold for you. When it’s extremely cold outside, avoid leaving your pets outside for extended periods of time. During walks, dogs with short coats can need a coat or sweater.


Give shelter

If you can’t keep your dog indoors during cold weather, provide him or her with a warm, durable shelter against the wind even though we don’t recommend letting any pet outside for extended periods of time. They do, however, have unfettered access to clean water. To produce a warm, cozy environment, the shelter’s floor needs to be elevated above the ground, and the bedding needs to be thick, dry, and constantly changed. The entrance to the shelter should be angled away from the wind. Space heaters and heat lamps need to be kept away from since they could burn someone or start a fire. Additionally, it is advised to use heated mats carefully because burns could still occur.


Defend their paws

Of course, some situations necessitate extra care, especially if you reside in a cold or icy region of the nation and your town or neighbors use salt to de-ice sidewalks and roadways. A dog’s paw pads can become infected with a painful sore if salt grains become lodged there. If you frequently walk on salty surfaces, you might want to give your dog booties, put paw balm on them, or at the very least, clean their paws when you come home.


Get your dog ready for walks in the winter

Consider getting your dog a warm, dry coat if you plan to go on a trip or take them for a walk in cold weather and they enjoy being outside. This will help them stay warm. If you find yourself outside during a snowstorm, keep your dog on a leash so they don’t lose their scent and become lost. Make sure your dog is microchipped and that the chip is working. Additionally, dress your dog in a hi-vis jacket or flashing collar for evening walks to keep them visible.


Avoid Dehydration Even in Cold Weather

Although it’s a popular misperception, even in the winter when it’s not scorching hot outside, pets (and people) may still become dehydrated. When out for walks, always have a bottle of water with you and make sure your pet is getting enough water both inside and out (and that their water bowl doesn’t freeze over!). Bond Vet advises carefully grabbing a little portion of your pet’s loose skin on the back of their neck to check for dehydration. Your dog is moisturized if the skin bounces back into place. If not, they should immediately sip some water. Additionally, make sure their gums are a hydrated, healthy pink shade by inspecting them.


Take Care of Your Pet’s Grooming

Winter is actually a crucial period for grooming, despite your temptation to ignore your pet’s coat during the chilly months. Waiting until spring will just make combing more difficult for you and painful for your pet. Regularly brush your furry child’s coat to remove mats and tangles. Additionally, removing the hair on your pet’s paws might help stop salt or other substances from becoming stuck. It’s crucial to adhere to your pet’s bathing routine because regular bathing prevents dry skin.

winter safety tips for dogs

Symptoms of Hypothermia and Frostbite

Pets exposed to extremely cold weather are at risk of dying from hypothermia and frostbite, albeit these conditions are unusual. Reduce the amount of time your cat or dog spends outside and keep an eye out for symptoms.

Frostbite – The risk of frostbite, which happens when the skin is damaged by excessive cold, is greatest in wet pets. Blisters, swelling, dead skin patches, a blue or gray discoloration where the skin is afflicted, and skin that feels chilly are all symptoms.

Hypothermia – This medical disease manifests in pets whose body temperatures are significantly below average. Breathing difficulties, rigid muscles, weakness, and even coma are among the symptoms.

Move your pet to a warm, dry location and contact your veterinarian right away if you think they may have hypothermia or frostbite.


Perform a Daily Car Inspection

According to pet experts, dogs and cats like to stay warm in the cold. When they are outside, they typically seek out your car because it is the closest source of heat. Check your tires, your engine, and the area under your car before getting in and starting it. Because it’s warm there, your pet might be sleeping there. If you can’t see your pet there, use your horn or the surfaces of your automobile to shake it awake. In this manner, your pet will have time to leave your vehicle before you start the engine. Adopt this behavior to protect your pet from harm from any moving parts of your car.


Support them in handling holiday guests

Last but not least, when your home is filled with extra guests, remember your pets. When you have guests around for the holidays, there are two guidelines to follow in order to keep your pets safe.

  • One is to give animals a calm, comfortable space to rest if they need it apart from people.
  • Two, watch out for pets who might flee the house while people are entering and leaving.


Make a first aid kit for pets

Snowy, slippery roads and power disruptions are frequently associated with winter weather. You should put together a pet first aid pack with goods like these in case you need pet supplies or can’t reach the vet in an emergency.

  • Self-adhesive Bandage webbing.
  • Tweezers.
  • Hydrogen Peroxide.
  • Cotton swabs.
  • Aspirin.
  • An antibacterial cream.
  • Medicine to treat diarrhea.
  • Towel.
  • Scissors.
  • Gauze pads.
  • Gloves made of latex.

A five-day supply of readily stored pet food and water should also be kept on hand. Stock up on any prescriptions that your canine companion could require as well.


Support stray and abandoned animals

Sadly, stray animals can be found everywhere, and the bitter winter can be fatal for those without a place to stay or caregivers. but you can assist! Make shelters for stray cats in your neighborhood on a budget using plastic totes with lids that can be removed. Raising them off the chilly ground with bricks or wood blocks will keep them warm. Instead of hay, use straw to insulate them. Create little holes that are just big enough for a cat and maintain them in a secure location away from traffic, people, and other animals.


Speak up for animal rights!

Pets depend on their human companions because they are unable to talk for themselves. Unfortunately, people often neglect to care for their pets. However, neglect is not always willful, and occasionally pet owners merely are unaware of how hazardous the cold may be for their pets. It’s crucial to first approach your neighbor nicely if you have concerns about one of their pets not receiving the attention they require. Prior to speaking with them, don’t presume that neglect is occurring; otherwise, you could not have the complete picture. Furthermore, neglect isn’t always committed out of malice; occasionally, pet owners are unaware of the dangers that the cold brings to their pets and would be happy to take care of the issues if made aware of them.

However, if the owner doesn’t respond favorably or maintains the pattern of neglect after you voice your concerns, it might be time to file a complaint.


Bottom Line

Speak with your veterinarian for guidance on any of the above if you are concerned about keeping your pet safe during the winter. Talk with your veterinarian about products that might be useful right now.

Picture of Souvik Ghosh
Souvik Ghosh
Hi there! I'm a pet enthusiast and passionate content writer. When I'm not typing away at my laptop, you'll probably find me cuddled up with my furry friends, or scouring the web for the latest pet tips and tricks. I believe that our pets are true extensions of our families and deserve to be given all of the love and attention that we can muster up.

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