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10 winter pet safety tips

10 Winter Pet Safety Tips

Happy Winter Solstice! Today officially marks the first day of winter. With the temperature dropping, we need to keep in mind that our pets are safe in this weather. We love to take our pets on holiday festivities, but we need to make sure our pets are ready for the cold temperatures. To prepare for the season, here are 10 winter pet safety tips to keep an eye on this winter. 

Winter Pet Safety Tip #1

Keep a humidifier on indoors. Your pet can suffer from itchy, dry skin from the heat of the home. Every time your pet comes inside from the cold, wet outdoors, their skin may start to dry up. A humidifier will help moist the air so you and your pets can escape the chapped, flaky skin irritations. 

Winter Pet Safety Tip #2

Dry your pets after they come inside. Once your pet is finished outside, dry them up with a towel and make sure their paws and toes are clear of any snow and debris from the outdoors. 

Winter Pet Safety Tip #3

Avoid shaving down your pets. Their coats help prevent the cold as much as possible. The longer their coats, the more warmth they will have. For short hair pets, a winter jacket or sweater will keep them safe and warm from the weather. With your pet’s fur, a simple trim will do them just fine; especially if they have any snow or ice stuck to their fur. Always check the fur of their paws for any residue. 

Winter Pet Safety Tip #4

Limit bath time. Too much bathing can strip your pet of the needed oils that help prevent dry, flaky skin from the cold. Grab a moisturizing shampoo if your pet really needs to get bathed and dry them with a towel after. 

Winter Pet Safety Tip #5

Do not use coolant or antifreeze around pets. Clean up any spills as soon as you see them. If you can consider using products that contain propylene glycol rather than ethylene glycol. 

Winter Pet Safety Tip #6

Have a warm place to sleep. To avoid the cold at night, make sure your pet has a warm bed and area to rest. Make sure they are off the floor and keep them away from any drafts. Grab them a warm blanket and/or pillows to cozy up during this weather. 

Winter Pet Safety Tip #7

Keep pets inside. If you think it’s too cold outside, it may be too cold for you pet’s too. Keep them indoors as much as possible and make sure they are kept warm. Do not leave them in the cars either. Cars can hold in the cold and can freeze your pet to the point of injury or death. 

Winter Pet Safety Tip #8

Some pets cannot tolerate cold weather. Dog breeds such as Siberian huskies, Newfoundlands, Alaskan malamutes, and Bernese mountain dogs can tolerate the cold weather but Greyhounds, German shorthaired pointers, or American pit bull terriers who have short, thin coats will need extra care during this season. 

Small pets lose their body heat quicker than those who are bigger. Since they are closer to the floor and snow, their bodies are working harder to keep warm. Pets who are thin are also at risk during the cold weather. Unlike thicker pets, the less body fat a pet has the less insulation they have to protect them from the temperature. 

Winter Pet Safety Tip #9

Always check the temperature before going outside. Pets will have a very difficult time depending on the temperature outside. Keep in mind that pets ok if the weather is 40 degrees and above; below 40 degrees pets will be uncomfortable; below 32 degrees pets should only be outside for a few minutes; below 20 degrees pets can develop hypothermia if left outside. 

Winter Pet Safety Tip #10

Treat hypothermia ASAP. Bring your pet to a warm environment and wrap them in a warm blanket. Try placing warm water bottles around your pet instead of using a heating pad so that your pet can avoid being burnt by the heat. Take them to their veterinarian or an emergency vet hospital as soon as your pet develops any of these symptoms:

  • Pale skin and gums
  • Shivering
  • Lethargy
  • Whining
  • Stumbling, lack of coordination
  • Dilated pupils
  • Low heart and breathing rates
  • Curled up

Learn more about hypthermia in pets here.

Stay healthy and warm this winter season, from the Fire Hydrant Team!

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