Tips to enjoy winter weather safely 

winter weather pet safety tips

You’ve winterized your car—now don’t forget to winterize your pet care! Here are a few simple tips to ensure that your pet’s winter outings stay cozy and safe.

1. Consider your pet’s health when choosing activities. Cold weather may worsen medical conditions such as arthritis, and dogs with joint disease may be more prone to slipping and falling on ice and snow. Check with your veterinarian to see what cold weather fun is safe for your pet.

2. Bundle up.
A sweater or jacket—even booties—can help your pet enjoy the cold in comfort. This is especially true for small dogs and short-haired dogs.

3. Modify walks according to the weather.
Keep an eye on the thermostat. If the weather gets truly frigid, let your pet stretch their legs with brief, frequent walks rather than long walks. 

4. Remember the wind chill. No matter the temperature outside, wind chill combined with dampness, rain, sleet or heavy, wet snow can be dangerous. 

5. Avoid ice. Never let your pet venture onto frozen ponds, lakes or other water that hasn’t been cleared by local authorities to be walked on by people. 

6. Protect paws. Trim long hair between your pet’s toes to avoid formation of ice balls. For pets who are prone to cracked pads, several balms are available to help protect against cracking. Try to walk around spots of salt and ice melt if possible, since most of these will cause pad irritation and potentially serious disease if licked off the paws. 

7. Prevent antifreeze poisoning. It only takes a small amount of antifreeze (ethylene glycol) to cause permanent and fatal damage to the kidneys, and unfortunately, antifreeze has a sweet taste that many animals find irresistible. Never drain antifreeze into the street, be careful to wipe up any spills and store antifreeze in tightly closed containers far out of the reach of pets (and children). 

8. Don’t leave your pet in a car. A cold car in winter can be just as bad as a hot car in summer. 

Looking for more tips? Check out our four strategies for cold weather paw protection. >>