Winter time can be lots of fun for you and your pet but there are some safety precautions to keep in mind before braving the cold.
Cold weather affects dogs and cat the same way it affects us. So remember to limit outdoor time in extremely cold weather, especially if there is wind chill in effect. It is best to keep cats indoors during the winter as they can become hypothermic quite rapidly. Also cat that are cold will often try to hide in warm places, such as near car motors which can be deadly when the car is started. Dogs (especially short coated ones) should wear a coat for outdoor walks and play. The coat should cover from the neck to the base of the tail. Even with a coat be sure to limit outdoor play time as frost bite can affect area that can’t be protected like the ears, tail and feet.
Winter can also cause drying and cracking of foot pads so make sure to inspect your dogs foot pads regularly. If your pet and long hair it may be necessary to trim the hair between the toes to prevent snow balls from accumulating there. Applying a thin layer of petroleum jelly to the foot pads prior to outdoor time may also help prevent some drying and cracking. Make sure when you return from winter walks to wipe the feet and between toes as salt can accumulate there and be irritating to the skin. If your dog is sensitive to the salt you may want to think about using booties for walks.
Also remember that antifreeze is a very dangerous toxin for pets. It also has a sweet flavor which can be appealing to animals making it all the more dangerous. Make sure to keep products containing antifreeze is secure containers outs of reach of your pets and promptly clean up any spills.
Never leave your pet alone in a car during cold weather. Cars hold in the cold, so it only takes a short period of time before hypothermia can set in to your pet. If you are unable to take your pet with you then it is always safer to leave your pet in a warm home.
For more information on cold weather safety for your pets please check out these websites: