Ways to Keep Your Pet Safe During the Winter

As pet owners, we’re fully responsible for the care and safety of our companions. This means preparing your pet for harsh weather conditions and other potential hazards that may accompany the change in seasons. This may seem like common sense, but the little things, while important, can be easily forgotten. Below, we’ve provided a list of winter safety precautions you can follow to ensure your pet’s protection from the elements and harmful substances.

Winter Pet Safety Tips

What can you do to keep your pet as safe as possible during the winter? Consider the following steps.

Parasites – Despite their tiny size, fleas and ticks (especially deer ticks) are extremely resilient and can survive the winter, especially if they find shelter inside your home. Make sure your pet remains on parasite preventatives all year-round for optimal protection. Ticks can transmit Lyme disease and tick paralysis, so avoid putting your pet’s health at risk.

Ice – Ice cover is prevalent in this area during the winter, and it poses just as much of a threat to our pets as it does us. Avoid walking your pet over sheets of ice on the ground, and don’t let them play on frozen ponds or other icy surfaces. They could easily become injured while running and playing on ice.

Cold Temperatures – While the temperature rarely drops below zero in our area, the cold can nonetheless be a danger to your pet, especially if they are kept outdoors for an extended period. Our pets are just as susceptible to frostbite and hypothermia as we are! Don’t leave your pet outside unsupervised for more than a few minutes. Keep walks around the neighborhood short, and make sure your pet has sufficient protection—this includes a jacket in their size and a set of shoes to protect their paw pads. Your pet may look silly, but they will also be warmer and much more comfortable.

Sidewalk Salt – The rock salt you typically see sprinkled on icy patches can cause problems for your pet. This includes getting stuck in the fur between their paw pads, burning their paw pads, and burning their mouth if they attempt to lick it. To de-ice your walkways and driveway, opt for a more pet-friendly de-icer. On walks, avoid walking your pet through patches of rock salt, or make sure they’re wearing booties.

Antifreeze – Certain types of antifreeze can be extremely harmful to pets due to the ethylene glycol they contain. This gives antifreeze its noticeably sweet smell and taste, which can be very attractive to your pet. Check your garage and driveway for possible spills/puddles, and keep all containers securely sealed and stored well out of your pet’s reach.