Cold Weather Safety Tips for Pet Owners

Winter comes with its share of risks for pets who spend time outdoors. As the temperatures drop and snow starts to fall, it’s important for you to make sure that your pets stay safe this season. Keep the following cold weather safety tips in mind for your pets.

Dress Your Dogs for the Cold

If it’s bitterly cold out, fur alone isn’t always enough to keep dogs warm, especially if they have shorter coats. Put a jacket or coat on dogs to help them stay warm during walks or any other time they’re outside. Just make sure you’re around to keep an eye on them when they’re wearing any apparel. If their coat or jacket gets wet, it won’t be able to protect them from the cold anymore.


Protect Your Pets’ Paws

When you take your dogs for winter walks, salt, ice, snow and cold surfaces all pose risks to their paws. Salt can burn the bottoms of paws, while ice, snow and cold sidewalks can cause your pets’ paws to freeze. Consider putting booties on your dogs to keep their paws safe from these winter hazards. Make sure these booties fit comfortably and aren’t too tight.


Keep Outdoor Time Short for Puppies and Senior Pets

Puppies and senior pets should spend minimal time outside, especially when it’s freezing out. Young and old dogs have more trouble staying warm enough outside, so it’s important to limit their outdoor time in winter to prevent frostbite and hypothermia.


Watch for Signs of Frostbite and Hypothermia

Frostbite occurs when certain parts of the body become frozen, while hypothermia occurs when a pet’s body temperature falls dangerously low. Signs of frostbite include pale or bluish skin at first, reddish and swollen skin later on, shriveled skin, cold skin and painful paws, tail or ears. Signs of hypothermia include excessive shivering, stiff muscles, lethargy, breathing trouble and weakened pulse. If your pets show any signs of frostbite or hypothermia, seek veterinary care as soon as possible to prevent life-threatening complications or permanent damage to frostbitten areas.