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Winter – Protecting Your Pets

Winter can be a particularly difficult time for pets.

Give your pet a safer, healthier weather season by following these tips:


  • A temperature of 10°F or below is too cold for any pet. The physical stress of cold temperatures can make pets more likely to become sick or infected.
  • Provide outdoor dogs or cats with a dry, insulated pet house or shelter out of the wind.
  • Staying warm demands extra calories so increase your pet’s food intake, particularly those with protein.
  • Remove ice, salt, and mud from your pet’s paws and coat right away.
  • Contact your veterinarian immediately if you suspect your pet has frostbite. Frostbitten skin may turn reddish, white, or gray, and it may be scaly or sloughing.
  • Cats and kittens often nap on car engines. Knock on the hood or honk the horn then wait a few minutes before starting the car.
  • Pets like the smell and taste of antifreeze, but even a small amount can kill them. Thoroughly clean up spills at once.
  • Tightly close containers and store them where pets cannot get to them.
  • Never let your dog off its leash in the snow or ice. Dogs can lose their scent in snow and ice and become lost in the harsh weather.
  • Make sure pets, such as dogs, always wear their ID tag.
  • Always have fresh, clean water available. Don’t use metal water dishes outside; your pet’s tongue could stick to the frozen metal.
  • Many plants, including holly, mistletoe, and poinsettia, are toxic to pets. Keep them out of your pet’s reach.
  • Dogs confined to the house because of winter weather may lack proper exercise and suffer depression. Help by giving more attention and encouraging them to be active.