Tips to Keep Your Pet Safe From Winter’s Bitter Cold

caring for pets in cold weather

While we often discuss the dangers that extreme cold brings to humans, it’s also important to remember cold weather pet safety during the winter months. Keep your furry friends warm and healthy too with these tips from RediClinic, your neighborhood health clinic.*

Protect Pets This Winter

  • Keep indoor pets indoors as much as possible during severe weather. If it’s too cold for you, it’s probably too cold for your pet. If pets must remain outdoors, they must be protected by a dry, draft-free shelter that allows for movement but is small enough to retain body heat. The floor should be a few inches off the ground and covered with straw or cedar shavings. The doorway should also be covered with a waterproof material.
  • A pet’s paws can become dry and cracked in cold weather, and easily irritated by salt and chemical ice melt on roads and sidewalks. Before heading outside, apply paw balm or petroleum jelly to prevent chapping, or put on protective booties. When you’re back indoors again, wipe the paws with a lukewarm washcloth to remove irritants, then apply paw balm again.
  • Keep walks short. Although pets have fur to protect their skin, exposed areas on the nose, paws and ears can still become frostbitten. Pets also are susceptible to hypothermia. Keep walks brief during very cold weather and watch for signs of hypothermia such as shivering, anxiety and slow movement.
  • Bathe your pet less frequently in winter. Washing too often will strip your pet’s skin of essential oils that protect against dry, itchy skin caused by cold winter air. If your pet must be bathed, use a moisturizing or oatmeal shampoo, or consider using a dry shampoo during the winter months.
  • Pets who spend time outdoors should be given more food in colder weather because they burn more energy to stay warm. Routinely check to be sure your pet’s water dish is not frozen. Do not use metal bowls for food and water; your pet’s tongue can stick to the metal and freeze.
  • If you see a pet left out in dangerous weather without proper shelter and food, speak out. The Humane Society has tips on how you can help a neglected pet.

We’re Redi to Help You Live Healthy All Winter Season Long

RediClinic provides high-quality, convenient and affordable healthcare that fits your busy lifestyle. From a comprehensive health screening to treatment for more than 30 minor illnesses and injuries, you can get healthy and live healthy during the winter months – and at every season – with a quick visit to RediClinic. Make an online appointment at your nearest clinic today.

*RediClinic clinicians do not treat animals.