Advice for Cats and Dogs in Cold Weather

Whether you live in a cold place, or are visiting a cold place for some time, you should take some precautions for your pet’s safety. Every season we experience has its joys but also its dangers.

Indoor/Outdoor Cats

Be careful about letting your cat wander around outside. On very chilly days, a cat might look for warmth under a car or up on the engine. It can be deadly if a neighbor gets into their car and starts it not knowing a cat is under or in the car. One time I had a raccoon make a home in my engine for an hour long drive from Brooklyn to Long Island in the winter. It was ok but very scared and its fur had been burned. Now, I always check my car before getting in it. Tapping on the hood and peeking underneath only take a few seconds.

So even if you do keep your cat inside during the winter, keep an eye out for those outdoor adventurous ones who might be napping under your car.

Dogs Are Limited In Winter

Snow, sleet, and wind can mask some scents that your dog may normally use as “markers” and “landmarks.” Do not let your dog off leash in heavily snowed areas as they may lose their way. Also make sure those ID tags are securely fastened to their collar.

Wipe those paws when coming in from a walk to remove ice, snow, and debris. Salt that is used to de-ice sidewalks can burn the foot pads and make them very ill if ingested. You can invest in some doggie booties and see if your pup will tolerate them. Also, talk to your friends and neighbors about pet safe de-icers. Maybe you can help start a movement towards a safer environment and safer, happier, pet-friendly neighborhood.

Try to let your dog’s winter coat grow too long with the thought that it’ll keep him/her warmer. A good doggie coat, grooming to remove dead fur, and trims will make your dog happier than a long hippie hair.

Winter weather can sometimes cause dogs to take twice as long to go to the bathroom outside. Probably because it’s cold and they can’t sniff and find that “perfect” spot. Puppies may not want to practice housebreaking and older dogs may not want to go for long walks. Whatever tips and tactics you do employ to jump this hurdle, stay patient, it gets better.

For more tips to make sure your pet is ready for cold winter weather, check out all of these PetsWelcome articles:

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3 thoughts on “Advice for Cats and Dogs in Cold Weather

  1. This was a great article. I had most of these facts, but you provided a few I didn’t. Here’s a piece of useful info. that I’m putting in the pet-related newsletter I write for my friend’s Grooming salon customers. This is a great product. I already put
    a link for it on our local Humane Society’s website.
    Paw Choice is the environment and pet friendly solution perfect for any home and/or business. Because it contains 33% fewer chlorides than other ice melters, Paw Choice is better for people, pets and concrete. Effective at melting ice in temperatures as low as -13˚F (-25˚C), Paw Choice melts snow and ice within 15 minutes of application. You can have confidence in the safety of your pets, your concrete and your landscaping knowing that Paw Choice contains the same mineral supplements used in most farm animal feedstock. or 1-888-RIM-ONLY (746-6659)

    Also, I always provide this info. to help pet owners since pets can be poisoned even when we’re very careful ASPCA National Animal Poison Control Center (1-888-4 ANI-HELP).

    Thanks for the great info. Keep up the good work.

  2. I’ll echo the warning about cats sleeping under cars during the winter from experience; always beep the horn, clap, or bang the hood to make sure there aren’t any stray cats curled up some place under the car. It’s no fun for you or the cat to be surprised in these situations.

  3. Another thing to consider is dogs venturing out onto frozen lakes etc. Not only is the risk of drowning there but a dog can easily break a leg or rip a tendon when his legs go sprawling.

    I’ve seen this happen to one of our pets. Tendon and ligament injuries can take a long time to heal!!