Webster Lake Veterinary Hospital

Six Cold Weather Safety Tips for Dogs and Cats


Brrr.With temperature in some parts of the country hitting 20 degrees or below, it’s pretty cold even for your household pets. Here are some tips for cold weather safety for dogs and cats.


Tip 1: In cold weather most dogs and cats should be kept inside.Some long-haired double-coated dogs such as Alaskan Huskies can do well in freezing temperatureifthey have awell-enclosed dog house filled with clean insulating straw and are used to the cold weather. If housed outside, these dogs should get a special high-calorie diet and be closely monitored. If your pet is very young or old, or has a more meager coat, inadequate shelter, inadequate diet or an inability to thermo-regulate efficiently, they will freeze or become hypothermic or develop frostbite, especially on the tips of their ears and tail.


Tip 2: Check your car before you start it. Cats are resourceful at finding warm places. If left outside in the cold, cats may hide under the hood of your car. As a result, when someone starts the motor, the cat can get injured or killed.


Tip 3: Remember the sweaters and jackets for short-haired dogsgoing on walks, especially if they spend time standing still. In general, if they are shivering outside or tucking their rear end and looking miserable and you’re cold and need a special winter coat, your thin-furred dog may need one too.


Tip 4: Avoid leaving pets in the carwhen it’s really cold. Without heating, the car turns into a virtual refrigerator.


Tip 5: Salt and other chemicals used to de-ice the streets can be irritating to your pet’s paws and if ingested can cause ulcers and irritation of the esophagus and mouth.Wash their feet and any other place you see salt using warm water. If you train your dog to wear protective dog booties on walks, the booties will protect against the salt and can also help prevent foot injuries caused by running in sharp ice.


Tip 6: Don’t let pets eat snow.The snow can have toxic chemicals such as car antifreeze which can cause vomiting, kidney failure and death. If you catch your pet eating colored snow, take him to the vet for immediate care.


For more information on keeping your pets safe this winter visit www.WebsterLakeVet.com or try the aspca website at www.aspca.org

When the weather is too bad for your pets to be outside, teach dog tricks and cat tricks. It will challenge them both mentally and physically as well as wear them out!


The secrets behind what it takes for sled dogs to survive subzero temperatures while competing in races like the Iditarod are discussed in cold weather safety for dogs - insights from a sled dog veterinarian.