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Protecting Your Pets in the Cold: Winter Safety Tips for Pet Owners

Winter is upon us, and everyone is starting to think of ways to stay warm and safe from the snow, ice, sleet, and freezing temperatures that will be here before we know it. But when we consider our comfort or our family’s safety, are we including our pets in the equation? Sure, animals have fur to keep them warm, but they are still prone to frostbite and hypothermia during the winter season. To keep our fur babies safe, here are some simple guidelines for ensuring their health and well-being during the winter season.

1. Shelter and Safety for Pets: Keep pets indoors during cold weather, as exposure to extreme temperatures can be harmful. If pets must be outside, provide a dry, draft-free shelter with proper bedding (hay or cedar chips, and a blanket or bed raised off the ground) and protection from the cold. Ensure they have extra food and a heated water dish to always provide unfrozen water. To keep your pet’s tongue from sticking to the bowls, consider using plastic instead of metal dishes.


2. Protection from Cold and Chemicals: Protect pets from frostbite by using sweaters, wipe paws to remove snow-melting chemicals that can irritate paws and be poisonous if swallowed, and be mindful of antifreeze poisoning, which has a sweet taste that can attract pets. On your own property, consider using pet-friendly de-icing alternatives that make it safer for your fur baby to go outside for potty breaks or exercise.


3. Awareness of Outdoor Animals: Advocate for outdoor animals’ welfare by providing shelter, food, and care. Create simple shelters for outdoor cats by lining large plastic containers with Styrofoam and straw (or purchase pre-made ones from Amazon) and prevent accidents involving small wildlife by checking under car hoods before starting the engine.


4. Speak Up: If you find a pet left in the cold, kindly express your concern to the owner. Some may not be aware of the risks cold weather poses to their pets and might readily address the issue. If the response is negative or neglect continues, contact your local animal control agency immediately.


The winter season presents both risks and enjoyable experiences for your fur babies. Ensuring your pet’s safety in the cold is crucial, and being well-prepared makes it more manageable. As a responsible pet owner, advanced planning, comprehending your pet’s cold tolerance, and readiness for various cold-weather scenarios is essential.

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