Pet Safety: Baby It’s Cold Outside

White dog on a snowy trail

Winter Guidelines for Your Pet

By now you should have your boots, warm jacket, gloves, hat, and scarf all lined up ready for action. Your pet counts on you to keep him or her safe and warm during the winter. This is more about common sense and a bit of fore-thought and doesn’t cost much financially.

Safety for your furry friend can be critical in any location once the temperatures start to plunge. Here in Wisconsin it is cold outside. This begins off and on in October, and we all hope for at least an occasional warmup beginning in March or April. Snow is typically on the ground beginning in November. We may still be shoveling in April, and there was a snowstorm in May a few years ago.


a white dog wrapped in a purple blanket
Falkor My Love Muffin















I’ve created a simple list of safety tips for your pets to keep them comfortable and free of any unnecessary visits to your vet.

Stay Inside. Never leave your dog or cat outside during cold weather. End of discussion. It’s an erroneous belief that dogs and cats can tolerate cold weather because of their fur. Just like people, cats and dogs can get frostbite and hypothermia and therefore must be kept inside.

Know the Limits:  Pets’ cold tolerance can vary depending on their coat, body fat stores, activity level, and health. Shorten your dog’s walks in very cold weather to protect you both from possible weather-associated health risks. Your dog’s paws can accumulate ice between their toes. It may help to clip the hair between their toes. Watch for signs of cold-weather damage, such as cracked paw pads or bleeding.

Clean Up: During walks, your dog’s feet, legs and belly may pick up toxic chemicals from the ground. Salt on the sidewalks, spilled antifreeze, and other poisons are a risk for your pet. This is especially true if they have the chance to lick their coated fur. Wash your pet’s feet, legs and belly to remove these chemicals.

Keep Your Pet Home: I understand you want to take your pet everywhere, but cold cars pose significant risk to their health. Cars can rapidly cool down in cold weather and this can put your pet in a dangerous, even life-threatening situation.

Awareness and planning are key to keeping both you and your pawtastic pal safe and warm this winter season!


a brindle pit bull smiling
Or, go to Arizona for the winter like my buddy Phil!



Read our article on The Health Benefits of Pet Ownership.


Did I miss anything? Please share if you have thoughts on keeping pets safe during cold weather.


Till next time, Sandra

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