Woof – It’s Cold Outside!

When the weather outside is frightful, these winter pet tips show you how to keep your precious pet snug, safe and warm.

Keep Pets Inside. It’s a common myth that dogs and cats are resistant to cold weather because they have fur, but that’s not true. No pet should be left outside for long periods of time in below-freezing weather. Remember, if you’re cold, they’re cold too!

Know Your Limits. You’ll probably need to shorten your dog’s walks in very cold weather to protect you both from weather-associated health risks. Older pets may have more difficulty walking on snow and ice, while short-legged pets may become cold faster because their bellies and bodies are more likely to touch snow-covered ground.

Snug as a Bug in a Rug. Make sure your companion animal has a warm place to sleep, off the floor and away from all drafts. A cozy dog or cat bed with a warm blanket or pillow is perfect! If you have a pet bird or a small animal like a guinea pig or hamster, make sure its cage is in a warm place.

Play Dress-Up. If you bathe your dog in the winter, be sure to completely dry him before taking him out for a walk. Own a short-haired breed? Consider getting him a coat or sweater with a high collar or turtleneck with coverage from the base of the tail to the belly.

Check the Paws. When you get back from a walk, wipe down your dog’s paws, legs and belly. While licking his paws, he can accidentally eat salt, antifreeze or other potentially dangerous chemicals that get trapped in his fur.

Collar and Chip: Many pets become lost in winter because snow and ice can hide recognizable smells that might normally help your pet find his way back home. Make sure your pet always wears a collar with an ID tag. Talk to your veterinarian about getting a microchip, which is a more permanent means of identification.

Party Animals. The holidays can be a dangerous time for pets, so be sure to keep batteries, wires, and glass and plastic ornaments out of paws’ reach. Many festive holiday plants like poinsettias, holly berries and lilies are poisonous to pets. Consider artificial flower arrangements. Never leave lighted candles unattended – stick to the battery-operated kind.

Follow these tips and you and your best friend will enjoy many more winter wonderlands together!