18790 Middlebelt Rd

Livonia, MI 48152 US

(248) 615-7670

Open mobile navigation

Cold Weather Pet Safety

Dog in snow

How to Protect Your Pet When the Weather Turns Cold

Cold weather can be dangerous for your pet's health, causing ailments ranging from skin irritations to frostbite. These six tips will help you keep your pet safe and comfortable no matter how low the temperature drops.

1. Use Pet-Safe Antifreeze

Antifreeze may not look very appetizing to you, but animals are drawn to its sweet scent. Licking a small puddle of antifreeze can cause kidney failure and even death in pets. Since you never know when your radiator will spring a leak, it's a good idea to replace your antifreeze with a pet-safe version.

Before adding pet-safe antifreeze, flush out the old antifreeze and dispose of it. If you just top off the antifreeze with the pet-safe type, your pet may still be at risk. Wipe up antifreeze spills and puddles immediately to protect your pet and other animals.

2. Pay Extra Attention to Your Pet's Paws and Pads

Frozen surfaces, rock salt, and ice-melting chemicals can be hard on your pet's paws. Wipe off your pet's paws after every walk or outdoor play session to prevent painful irritation. Applying a liberal coat of petroleum jelly to your dog or cat's paws before going outside can be a good preventative measure.

Pet-sized boots and booties offer another option. The footwear prevents paws and pads from coming in contact with dangerous substances and also reduces slips and falls on icy surfaces.

Paw inspections are particularly important on snowy or icy days. Remove clumps of snow and ice stuck between your pet's toes promptly to prevent irritation or frostbite.

3. Limit Outside Time on Freezing Cold Days

Your pet's natural fur coat makes chilly days more comfortable but may not offer adequate protection on very cold days. If it's so cold that you don't want to spend more than a few minutes outside, bring your pet inside. Although dog houses can provide some degree of shelter from the wind, your pet will still be affected by the cold and could develop frostbite if left outside for too long.

Some dogs will be more comfortable wearing sweaters when venturing out on cold days. A sweater may be a good idea for short-haired or hairless pets, old, young, frail, or sick animals.

4. Make Sure Your Pet Wears Tags

It's never a good time to lose your pet, but the winter is a particularly bad time for your furry friend to go missing. Bad weather can complicate your search and put your pet's life in jeopardy. A collar with a tag may decrease the amount of time your lost pet spends outdoors before it's reunited with you.

Put an ID tag on your dog or cat even if your pet is microchipped. Veterinary offices and shelters will have microchip readers, but good samaritans won't have these devices.

5. Protect Your Pet from Indoor Hazards

It only takes a second for an injury to occur if your pet is near a fireplace, heater, or lit candle. Place a baby gate enclosure around your fireplace or heater to prevent your pet from wandering too close. Sparks from the fire can cause burns, as can a brush with a heater.

If you use a kerosene heater, it's particularly important to keep the unit away from your pets. Your playful dog or cat could knock over the heater, starting a fire. Battery-operated flameless candles are a better choice if you have a curious cat or dog. The candles provide all the ambiance of the real thing, yet don't pose a fire hazard.

6. Don't Leave Your Pet in a Cold Car

Most people know that hot cars can quickly kill pets and children during the summer months. Unfortunately, cold cars are just as dangerous. The ASPCA notes that cars tend to hold in the cold, acting as refrigerators. If you'll be out of the car for more than 10 minutes, bring your pet with you or better yet, leave it at home.

Do you have a question about your pet's health or need to schedule an appointment? Contact our office and let us know how we can help you.

Sources:

ASPCA: Cold Weather Safety Tips

WebMD: Pet Winter Safety: Prepping Your Pet for Winter Weather

American Veterinary Medical Association: Cold Weather Animal Safety

Exclusive Offer

New clients receive $20 OFF first exam!

Office Hours

Monday:

9:00 am-7:00 pm

Tuesday:

9:00 am-7:00 pm

Wednesday:

9:00 am-7:00 pm

Thursday:

Closed

Friday:

9:00 am-7:00 pm

Saturday:

9:00 am-5:00 pm

Sunday:

Closed

Location

Testimonials

  • "I love this veterinary clinic. Dr. Sheehy and staff are all friendly and seem to take pride in their jobs. I enjoy taking my three rats there and would recommend them to everyone I know."
    Cheyenne H / Livonia, MI

Featured Articles

Read about interesting topics

  • Preparing for Your Kitten’s Developmental Milestones

    Need to hone in on your kitten knowledge? Check out the milestones your new pet will reach during its first year. ...

    Read More
  • What Is Ataxia in Dogs?

    Could balance or gait issues mean your dog has ataxia? ...

    Read More
  • Fish

    If you’re thinking of getting a pet fish, you should know that your veterinarian has a lot of good advice about pet ownership. Fish can be very rewarding as pets, and you just may be surprised about how much fish actually interact with their owners. Here’s more valuable information about choosing ...

    Read More
  • Caring for Senior Cats

    Thanks to advancements in veterinary care, today’s cats can live well into their teen years. It is not uncommon for cats to live to be 18 or even older. However, in order for cats to live a long full life, they need proactive veterinary care to stay healthy. As cats age, they are at greater risk for ...

    Read More
  • Feline Stomatitis: Treatments

    Cats rarely display their pain, but cats with feline stomatitis are often the exception. If your cat appears to have mouth pain, is reluctant to eat, doesn't want to groom, is drooling, and doesn't want you to open its mouth, it may be suffering from this debilitating, degenerative oral condition, and ...

    Read More
  • Feline Leukemia Virus: What You Need to Know

    Feline leukemia (FeLV) is a virus that weakens your cat's immune system. Unfortunately, when the immune system does not function properly, your cat may be more likely to develop other diseases, such as cancer and blood disorders. How Cats Contract Feline Leukemia Cats get feline leukemia from other cats. ...

    Read More
  • Family Cats and Pregnant Women: Take Measures to Prevent Toxoplasmosis Infection

    Nothing must spoil the joys of becoming a new parent. Not even your pets. But family cats with normal, every day habits can pose a risk to expectant women. Women's immune systems can be disturbed by a parasite carried in fecal matter. If you're the primary caretaker of your family's feline friend it ...

    Read More
  • Create an Environment Your Cat Will Love

    The Journal of Feline Medicine and Surgery confirms that feline emotional wellbeing, behavior and physical health are a result of how comfortable they are in their environment. Understanding how our cats interact with their environment can help us create a space for owners and cats to mutually thrive ...

    Read More
  • Catnip: Why Cats Love It

    Few things stimulate a cat's pleasure faster than catnip. Exposure to this simple herb can reveal a new side to their feline personality. Many cats will go crazy at the smell of this plant. Catnip has a reputation of being a feline drug and many cat owners wonder if it is safe to give it to their pet. ...

    Read More
  • Zoonosis

    Zoonosis refers to diseases that can be transmitted to humans from animals. In particular, they occur when an infected animal passes on bacteria, parasites, fungi or viruses to humans through scratches, saliva, feces and urine. Vectors (e.g., organisms like fleas and ticks) can also carry zoonotic diseases ...

    Read More

Newsletter Signup

Sign up for more articles