How to Keep Your Pet Safe This Winter

girl with her dog on a snowy day

Keep your pet safe and warm with these 15 helpful hints!

  • 1

    Before winter starts, take your pet to a veterinarian for a wellness exam, especially if your pet is elderly or has a medical condition like arthritis. This will ensure he’s healthy and ready for the cold weather.

  • 2

    Limit the amount of time your pet spends outside, especially if he is young, elderly, thin, or small, or has a thin coat of fur. These pets are more likely to develop hypothermia if exposed to the cold.

  • 3

    Don’t leave your pet in the car. Many pets will start to feel uncomfortable when temperatures are in the 40s. Hypothermia and frostbite can set in when temps fall below 20 degrees.

  • 4

    Put a sweater on your pet! This is especially great for small dogs with thin coats who need a little extra help keeping warm.

  • 5

    When in doubt, stay indoors. If you’re not sure whether it’s too cold to go outside, it’s best to stay inside and keep warm!

  • 6

    Clean your pet’s paws when he comes in from outside. This will get rid of any salt or chemicals he might have picked up and prevent him from getting sick by licking the residue.

  • 7

    Find creative ways to keep your pet fit and active during winter, like teaching him new tricks or playing games.

  • 8

    If you’re out and about after dark (which comes too early during the winter months!), be sure you and your pet wear reflective gear. This helps make sure you are visible to others and will keep you and your furry friend safe.

  • 9

    Put your car’s antifreeze up high and clean up spills immediately. Antifreeze can cause serious damage to your pet if ingested.

  • 10

    Be prepared in case of a power outage. Put together an emergency kit that includes fresh food and water, your pet’s medications, and plenty of blankets.

  • 11

    Talk to your veterinarian about whether you need to adjust your pet’s diet. He may need more or less food depending on whether he continues to be active outdoors during the winter (and therefore will burn more calories to regulate his body temperature) or spends more time indoors lounging around.

  • 12

    Consider keeping your home humidified. The cold weather combined with the dry heat in your home can cause flaky skin.

  • 13

    Create a snuggly place for your pet to sleep. A pet bed with a blanket that’s located away from drafts makes the perfect spot.

  • 14

    Avoid over-washing your pet. This can strip him of essential oils and cause dry, itchy skin.

  • 15

    If it snows where you live, your pet will need a snow-free place outside to do his business. Keep a small area shoveled and have him take bathroom breaks there.