5 Ways To Keep Your Pets Safe This Winter


While winter means long sleeves and layers for us, your pet is left to fend for itself. The cold weather poses a unique set of threats to your dog or cat, but there are things you can do to keep him or her out of harm’s way. The next time you see your pooch shivering, consider these vet-approved tips:

  1. Bundle them up
    Yes, your dog or cat comes with a fur coat of its own, but the cold air calls for another layer of protection. Consider slipping a sweater or wrapping a blanket around your furry friend to keep them warm and cozy, even on the most frigid of days. “Cats, especially, love to snuggle up in blankets,” says Nancy Shaw, DVM, of Park Ridge Animal Hospital in Park Ridge. Dr. Shaw also adds that as long as your home is warm enough for you, it should be warm enough to keep your pet at a stable body temperature and avoid hypothermia.
  2. Clean those paws
    Your first instinct when you see ice on your driveway or sidewalk might be to toss a thick layer of rock salt or melting pellets on the pavement, but your fur babies should stay far away from the stuff to prevent accidental ingestion or contracting dermatisis from contact. Dr. Shaw suggests opting for a pet-safe melting agent, as well as wiping all four of your pet’s paws before reentering the house. “Boots are another measure you could take if your dog can tolerate them,” she adds.
  3. Be mindful of your heater
    Sure, you’re lighting up fireplaces and turn up radiators during the cold winters, but keep in mind that your pet is prone to getting burned and might even be a fire hazard. So make sure his or her tail doesn’t get too close to heat sources to prevent an accidental burn or fire. “A screen or a gate is a helpful barrier to keep your pet from getting burned,” says Dr. Shaw. She also warns that extra care should be taken with heaters, as they generally have long cords that your pet might play with and then accidentally knock one over.
  4. Know their limits on walks
    Just like humans, too much time out in the cold can be detrimental to a pooch or kitty. Dr. Shaw recommends shortening your walks when it’s exceptionally chilly out so you and your pet don’t freeze, even if you have to give your pet a little jacket for extra warmth on the trek. “It’s still important that they get a daily walk, though,” she says.
  5. Keep cats away from your car
    Yes, the old wives’ tale about outdoor cats hanging around cars for warmth in the winter is a thing. Wheel wells and other compartments near the engine of a vehicle are the perfect small, cozy hiding place for a feline looking to escape the cold air. According to Dr. Shaw, owners with outdoor cats are supposed to always check their cars before starting it. “Listen for meows if you have to,” says Dr. Shaw. “You should be mindful that there’s always a chance that they’ve snuck in there.”
Categories: Bergen Health & Life