Your pets are a beloved member of your family. As the winter months approach, make sure to consider the safety of your four-legged friends. Cold temperatures and icy conditions make this season particularly hazardous for pets.
Here are the top four tips to keep your pets safe in cold weather all winter long.
1. Make Sure Your Pets Stay Warm
Dogs and cats usually have thick coats to protect them when the air gets chilly. Even so, it’s up to you to keep your pet warm in these inclement conditions. Here’s how to keep your pets warm in winter:
- Bring outdoor pets inside when the temperature drops.
- If they can’t come in, make sure they have a dry, draft-free enclosure.
- Never leave pets in the car unattended.
- Adjust the time they spend outside, especially for older, short-coated, thin or very young pets who can get cold more quickly.
- Outfit your pet with a sweater if you will be outside longer than a few minutes.
2. Avoid Potential Dangers
Winter may be a fun time for your pet to jump in snow piles and snatch snowflakes. This season also has unique dangers you should be aware of, including:
- Cats hiding under cars: Cats love to sleep in the wheel wells of cars to keep warm during winter. Before you start your vehicle, check around to ensure your pet doesn’t get hurt.
- Lost pets: Snow can cover scents that would typically help your pet find their way home and make their surroundings look unfamiliar. Keep them on a leash and get your pet microchipped.
- Frozen bodies of water: Don’t walk on ice. If your pet falls into a freezing lake or river, they could get seriously hurt.
3. Protect Their Paws
Your pet may enjoy walking through a winter wonderland, but dogs especially can pick up all kinds of toxic chemicals on their paws. Salt, de-icers and antifreeze can injure the pads of their paws and even make them sick.
Keep your pet safe by wiping off their paws when you return from walks. Check their pads for bleeding or cracks. You can also purchase winter dog boots if you and your dog are planning an extended outdoor adventure this winter.
When buying de-icers for your home, be sure to get pet-friendly products for an extra measure of protection.
4. Be Prepared for Emergencies
From white-outs to extreme temperature drops, winter can bring its fair share of emergencies. Be sure to keep your pet in mind when making an emergency plan for your family. Have enough food, water and pet medication in your emergency supplies to last at least a week. It’s always a good idea to be prepared.