Pet Sitters International offers the following winter-proofing tips to help keep your pets healthy, happy and safe during the cold winter months:
- Keep pets inside as much as possible. Young pets, old pets and short-haired breeds are more vulnerable to cold weather and should not be left outside unsupervised.
- Don’t leave dogs in a storm. Dogs should never be left out during a snowstorm because they frequently lose their scent in snow and ice and easily become lost.
- Provide adequate shelter if your pet has to be kept outside. Add straw for additional insulation from the cold and furnish a snug, warm bed that does not sit directly on the ground.
- Supply your pet with extra food and water when outside for extended periods of time. Make sure to use plastic dishes, as glass or porcelain can crack when temperatures drop.
- Thoroughly wipe off your pet’s feet once it has returned inside. Ice-melting chemicals and salt can irritate and burn the pads of your pet’s paws.
- Clip the long hair on the bottom of your dog’s feet. This prevents buildup of ice balls that can be painful and difficult to remove.
- Trim nails regularly. It is difficult to maintain solid footing in icy conditions with long nails.
- Antifreeze is poisonous. Thoroughly clean up any spills and store household chemicals out of your pet’s reach. Consider using products that contain propylene glycol rather than ethylene glycol.
- Make sure your pet has a warm place to sleep. All pets, including small caged pets, need to be kept warm and away from drafts.
- Drivers are advised to blow the car horn or bang on the hoods and sides of the car prior to driving to alert cats that may be taking advantage of the engine’s warmth.