Cold Weather Care for Your Pets

Warm Pet

Each winter much of the United States and many other parts of the world experiences a winter storm, sometimes news crews call a really bad one, a “Monster Storm”. Sometime it turns out that Mother Nature is a bit nicer to us than the weather forecasters predicted, but she still dumps a bit of snow across a good part of the country. During these cold winter months it’s hard enough for humans to stay warm, imagine how it must feel to be a dog or cat. Our pets can’t throw on a sweater when they feel a chill, and they can’t tell us when they have joint pain due to the cooler temperatures. We have the luxury of staying inside on cold winter days if we so choose, but not our pets. They still have to venture into the snow to “do their business” several times a day. So, what can we do as pet owners to make sure our pets have the best possible care during these frigid winter days? Here are some brief tips from the ASPCA.

  1. Keep your cat inside. Outdoors, felines can freeze, become lost or be stolen, injured or killed.
  2. During the winter, outdoor cats sometimes sleep under the hoods of cars. When the motor is started, the cat can be injured or killed by the fan belt.
  3. Never let your dog off the leash on snow or ice, especially during a snowstorm, dogs can lose their scent and easily become lost.
  4. Thoroughly wipe off your dog’s legs and stomach when he comes in out of the sleet, snow or ice.
  5. Never shave your dog down to the skin in winter, as a longer coat will provide more warmth.
  6. Never leave your dog or cat alone in a car during cold weather.
  7. Puppies do not tolerate the cold as well as adult dogs, and may be difficult to housebreak during the winter.
  8. Does your dog spend a lot of time engaged in outdoor activities? Increase his supply of food, particularly protein, to keep him, and his fur, in tip-top shape.
  9. Like coolant, antifreeze is a lethal poison for dogs and cats. Be sure to thoroughly clean up any spills from your vehicle, and consider using products that contain propylene glycol rather than ethylene glycol.
  10. Make sure your companion animal has a warm place to sleep, off the floor and away from all drafts.
  11. Download the ASPCA’s Pet Weather iPhone and Android App for free.

The Weather Channel also shares some valuable information about winter pet care. They say to watch your pets for signs of discomfort with the cold when you are outside with them. If they whine, shiver, seem anxious, slow down or stop moving, or start to look for warm places to burrow, they’re saying they want to get back someplace warm. Check out their tips for dealing with frostbite and hypothermia on an article on

Please see related article – Help Your Pet Stay Warm in Winter. You’ll find tips on treatments of frostbite and hypothermia and housing of pets in cold weather.


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