Cold Weather Pet Safety Tips

The mercury is falling as our Winnipeg winter begins. Centennial Animal Hospital advises pet owners to be aware of special precautions and review these animal care tips to ensure their pet braves the cold winter months.

Some cold weather precautions include:

  • Pet’s footpads often collect rock salt and ice. While walking it’s a good idea to occasionally stop and remove ice build up. To prevent irritation simply wipe pads with a warm washcloth after walks. If their pads seem dry, a little Vaseline helps.
  • Often we let our pets’ hair grow long for warmth. Keep in mind that a matted coat provides little to no warmth.
  • Cats are attracted to the warmth of car engines. Check beneath the car, honk the horn or bang on the hood before starting the engine to avoid serious, if not fatal injuries.
  • Pet owners are encouraged to keep their pets inside whenever possible or to provide appropriate shelter, unfrozen water, and bedding if your pet must be left outside for any length of time.
  • Check the garage for antifreeze spills, leaks and open containers. This puts animals at risk of poisoning. A mere tablespoon of ethylene glycol antifreeze can kill a cat or small dog.
  • Does your pet have a sweater? Short hair and smaller breeds such as Boxers or Jack Russell Terriers may benefit from the extra protection compared to a Sheep Dog. While walking, keep in mind that pets lose most of their body heat from the pads on their feet, through the ears and respiratory tract. If you do use pet clothing, always make sure it stays dry and change it if it becomes damp. Wet clothing can make a pet colder.
  • How about pet boots? Boots provide warmth and protection from ice build up in the pads.
  • Ice is slippery. A pet can easily pull a muscle. Please be especially careful of dogs with orthopaedic problems (ex. Arthritis).
  • Condition your pets to the cold gradually, including breeds which are suited to cold weather, such as huskies.
  • Did you know that cat ears are more prone to frostbite because they don’t have hair on their ears?
  • Pets who have compromised abilities to regulate body heat should be kept indoors (except for fun and walks). This would include younger and older pets. As well as, pets who have general health conditions such as diabetes, heart and kidney disease, and hormone imbalances

If you have any concerns or questions, please contact one of our team members at 204-269-8162.