Winter is an especially dangerous time for pets for a variety of reasons, so it’s important that you take the proper precautions to keep them safe. Cold weather poses unique risks for your pet due to the drop in temperature and the chemicals commonly used on roads during this season. Snowfall can also disguise scents and make it difficult for your pet to find their way home if they get lost. Preparation is key, so avoid safety hazards by being proactive about your pet’s safety. Read our tips below on how you can protect your pet during the winter season.
Understand Your Pet’s Limits
Depending on your pet’s breed, they may not handle cold weather very well. Animals with long coats may do better in cold weather than animals with short coats. If your pet is a shorthair, you will likely need to get them a coat that can help them withstand the temperature. If your pet spends a lot of time indoors, it may also have soft paws that are more sensitive to snow and ice. Animals that spend a lot of time outdoors will have more callused paws that can withstand weather conditions. Understand what your pet is and isn’t capable of so that you can appropriately prepare them to be outdoors in the winter.
Check the Hood and Tires Before Starting Your Car
In cold weather, stray cats tend to hide under the hoods of cars and inside the tires. This is because that area is warm and comforting during the blistering cold. Cats hiding in your car can be deadly for them and dangerous for you as well, so it’s important to always check before turning your car on. Moving engine parts can kill a cat and it may even cause you to get into an accident. Staying vigilant can help keep you and any stray cat safe.
Protect the Paws and Coat
Before letting your pet in the house, wipe their paws off to remove any road salt or chemicals. Your dog can pick up a lot of things just by walking in a street or sidewalk, and you don’t want them licking anything dangerous off of their paws. Salt, antifreeze, de-icers, and even ice can be dangerous for your pet. To avoid this altogether, consider getting your pet some winter-proof booties to keep their paws safe and keep them from ingesting any chemicals. While wiping off their paws, it’s always a good idea to check for any signs of injury, including cracked or bleeding paws. The winter air can be really drying for your pet’s paws and skin, so talk to your veterinarian about conditioning balms and lotions that may be appropriate for your pet.
Keep Them on a Leash
Always keep your pet on a leash when they are on a walk or in an uncontrolled area. Even if your pet is well-behaved, there is always the chance that they may encounter something that spooks them. Losing your pet in the winter can be incredibly dangerous because of the cold temperature and snowfall. It is more difficult to see an animal in the snow, especially if they have a white coat. Snow also disguises recognizable scents that would normally help your pet find its way home. Avoid the risk of losing your pet by keeping them on a leash or in a controlled environment. You should also always have your pet microchipped so that you can be contacted in case of an emergency.