Village Animal Clinic

Cold Weather Care For Pets

Winter’s chill affects animals just as it affects people.  Puppies and older dogs are more sensitive to the cold and should be taken outdoors only long enough to relieve themselves, and may need a pathway shoveled to make elimination easier.  Cats should be kept indoors.  Even with their fur coats, if it’s too cold for you to go outside, it’s too cold for your pet!

Antifreeze is deadly to dogs and cats, even in very tiny amounts!  Because it attracts animals with its sweet taste, any spills from your vehicle must be cleaned up, and consider using animal-friendly products that contain propylene glycol rather than the toxic ethylene glycol.  Also, never leave your dog or cat in a car in cold weather as a car can act as a refrigerator and actually keep in the cold.

Never let your dog off-leash when there is snow or ice, especially when it is snowing.  Dogs frequently lose their scent in snow and ice and can become lost.  Keep pets away from rivers, ponds and lakes as they begin to freeze and continue to use caution even when the water appears completely frozen.

After a walk, thoroughly wipe off the dog’s legs and stomach to remove any snow, ice or salt, which is irritating to an animal’s skin.  An animal’s feet (keep paw fur trimmed to avoid ice and snow collection), ears and tail are susceptible to frostbite – if you suspect frostbite, gradually warm the area with warm towels and contact your veterinarian.

For dogs that are groomed during the winter months, leave the hair coat longer to provide more warmth. Short-haired breeds must wear a warm coat or sweater which covers to the base of the tail and under the stomach.

And finally, make sure your pet has a cozy, warm place to sleep – away from drafts and off the floor – such as a dog or cat bed or basket, filled with a warm blanket or pillow.

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