Winter can be a dangerous time for our furry friends. When the temperature drops, it’s essential to keep your pets safe and warm, especially when they may not be able to tell us they’re cold or uncomfortable. While we can just throw on an extra layer, especially for smaller animals, their fur coat may not be enough when temperatures drop below freezing. If your pet must go outside, it’s important to take appropriate precautions.
Here’s our top tips for keeping your pet safe this winter:
Shelter is of utmost importance for both indoor and outdoor animals in the winter. Cats that normally roam freely outside in the summer should be brought inside for their own safety, and dogs should be kept primarily indoors, even if they have a fenced area for outside play. And no off-leash time! Your dog may love to swim, but jumping in a near-frozen body of water while the temperature is low could be dangerous to your pet’s health. Make sure to keep getting regular exercise, but keep your pet indoors where they have shelter as much as you can.
That said, every furry friend still needs exercise! If you think dealing with children with cabin fever is bad, you haven’t seen a stir-crazy dog, or a cat that’s used to going outside. For dogs, walks are still important for potty time, exercise, and staying warm, but when you head out, make sure to bundle up and account for the windchill on exposed noses and paws. Short-haired animals may allow you to dress them in a cozy sweater, and all pets can benefit from a windbreaker or other waterproof protection. For cats, make sure to engage in a little extra stimulation by playing with a string toy or other engaging activity.
Especially if your pet is still making regular trips outside, remember that even animals burn more calories in the cold. In addition to needing to heat their bodies, if your dog is running around like crazy to stay warm, that’s more activity and more calories burnt. With this in mind, you may want to adjust your pet’s diet so they’ll be getting some extra fuel this winter.
Antifreeze is deadly to animals, but tastes and smells like a sweet snack to many animals. Make sure to keep all coolants, antifreeze, and rock salt out of the reach of animals and children—and wipe up any spills immediately. Make sure to wipe paws after long walks if you’re traveling through a yard, parking lot, or other area where these hazardous materials may have spilled.
As you enjoy the wintertime season, take time to make sure your furry friends are warm and safe. Even if you may not feel the cold, they definitely do, so remember to bundle everyone up before heading out. Your pets will thank you!