Caitlin UltimoHealth / Pet Safety & Injury Prevention

Cold Weather Safety Tips for Pets

How Cold is Too Cold for a Dog or Cat?

As winter approaches and the temperature begins to drop, our pets are likely feeling the changes. With a strong chill in the air, it is essential that pet parents keep in mind some essential cold weather safety tips for pets to keep their vulnerable fur babies protected.

While small and elderly dogs face the most risk during the coldest months, all pets can fall victim to the cold. But exactly how cold is too cold for a dog? To determine whether or not your winter dog needs some warming up, Dr. Aimee Beger, DVM, of Oasis Animal Hospital recommends looking for the most obvious signs first and foremost. “Shivering is a typical sign that your pet is cold. They may also seek out heat sources such as electronics or vents in the floor,” says Dr. Beger. Some dogs and cats tend to burrow in blankets or snuggle up to their human or animal companions for warmth.

To ensure your pet can maintain an appropriate body temperature, Dr. Beger suggests offering them plenty of solace from the cold in the form of blankets, heating pads, dog sweaters and paw booties.

How to Keep Your Outside Pets Warm in the Winter

Although there are many winter dogs who love the snow and cold temps, it’s safe to say that majority of dogs and cats aren’t big fans of it. It’s not recommended that you leave your dogs and cats outside in the cold. Although seemingly obvious, this is one of the most important cold weather safety tips for pets. If for some reason your pets do need to be outside (or maybe you have barn animals or outside cats in the area who need solace from the cold), a great solution is the K&H Pet Products Original Lectro-Kennel Heated Pad & Cover. It’s great for barns, porches, winter dog houses or even indoors! The mat features a 5.5 foot steel wrapped cord so you don’t have to worry about animals chewing it or the elements waring on it. While you’re at it, remember to pick up a cozy thermal pet bed.

Pets may want to cuddle up by the fire or near a hot stove, but make sure you don’t leave them unattended. Sources of extreme heat can cause injury to pets if they are exposed too long or if the temperature gets too high.

Dressing Your Pet for the Cold

When spending time outdoors with your pets, be sure they are outfitted with the proper protection. Cozy jackets and sweaters ensure your pet’s body will be kept warm. Booties are important because paws are especially vulnerable to cold moisture. Just like humans, pets can suffer from hypothermia. If you notice signs of shivering or lethargy, it’s probably time to bring your pets inside. Remember that your dog’s and cat’s safety and health should always be at the forefront of your plans.

Cold Weather Safety Tips for Cats

So, can cats handle cold weather? Whether you live in the city or suburbs, outdoor cats tend to seek shelter in warm car engines. Before you start your car for your early morning commute, look underneath the car, tap on the hood and check the tires to make sure there aren’t any cats hiding there. Cats have been known to escape into wheel wells or engine bays in order to stay warm. To avoid disaster, be weary of starting your car before verifying there aren’t any cats in it. If feral cats do reside in your area, consider creating shelters complete with blankets, thermal dog beds and mats, like the K & H Pet Products Extreme Weather Kitty Mats. This will keep the cats warm, protected and less likely to congregate near vehicles.

Not all dogs and cats are made for the cold, these cold weather safety tips for pets will help you keep your pets protected from the elements. If you suspect your pet is hypothermic, contact your vet immediately.

Share: