If you live in a place with harsh winters, you have to be considerate of pets and take extra effort to keep them safe. From freezing paws to cats hiding in car hoods, winter months can pose a lot of danger. It is important to be aware of how you can keep your pets safe from harm. Here are winter weather tips to keep pets safe.
Consider How Long Your Pet Can Tolerate The Cold
Every pet’s cold tolerance is different. A tiny, short-haired chihuahua cannot handle cold weather conditions as long as a Bernese mountain dog can. Some breeds are born to love snow, and some can only handle short outdoor breaks. If it is below freezing, it is important to always pay attention to your pet’s time outside. Hyperthermia and frostbite is a risk for your pet in the winter, so always monitor them outdoors to keep them safe.
Get Your Short-Haired Pet A Sweater
Pet clothing is not only adorable, but it can keep them warm on freezing days. If your pet has short hair, consider getting them a sweater or jacket that can help keep them warm on cold winter walks.
Wipe Their Paws After Going Outside
Toxic chemicals like antifreeze, salt, and de-icer are used commonly in the winter and can be very dangerous to pets. If your pet is walking on sidewalks caked with salt, always remember to wipe their paws after so they don’t lick their paws and get sick. Wiping your pet’s paws will help avoid issues like drying and cracking too. If their paws get too cold, they are also at risk for frostbite.
Avoid Frozen Lakes And Ponds
Falling through ice is very dangerous for anyone and can often result in death. Pets do not understand what a frozen lake or pond is. Keep them safe by avoiding frozen lakes and ponds.
Give Them Reflective Gear
In the winter, the days are shorter and it's likely your pet will be outside after dark. Using reflective leashes, collars, or clothes will help your pet be seen by cars passing by to avoid accidents.
Give Pets Shelter
It is illegal to leave pets outside in the winter and it is encouraged to contact law enforcement if you see pets being left outside without shelter. Cold weather can be deadly for any animal and leaving pets outside is one of the most common animal abuse issues, according to the Humane Society. Even cats should not be left out in the winter, even if they are free-roaming in other seasons. Below freezing temperatures and unexpected weather patterns are dangerous and it is best to not risk your pet’s safety.
Be Aware Of Toxic Chemicals
Antifreeze is very dangerous and toxic to pets. Unfortunately, pets are attracted to the smell and taste of antifreeze so if you are using these dangerous chemicals, always keep them in a safe place where pets cannot reach and avoid spills. If you do spill antifreeze, be diligent with your clean up to keep your pets safe, and to keep neighborhood animals safe. It is best practice to always buy animal-safe chemicals any time you can.
Keep Pets Leashed
Pets get lost more commonly in the winter months, according to American Humane. Ice and snow can change familiar scents and your pet may not be able to find its way home. In case they do get lost, always make sure they have a collar with updated tags and updated microchip information.
Overall it is best to be prepared and pay attention to local weather conditions. Winter months can get very harsh and having an emergency plan for your pet can save your pet in dangerous situations. Keep your pets safe because they are a part of your family.