One of the simplest ways to keep your pet healthy and happy when there’s snow on the ground is to keep outdoor time very limited. This way, you don’t run the risk of deadly frostbite or hypothermia harming your pet. Ultimately, your pet will be happiest indoors with you and your family, where it’s warm and comfortable. Only allow your pet outdoors for bathroom breaks, short walks, and play sessions, and keep things under 10 minutes or so to be safe.
When walking your pet outdoors during winter, don’t allow them to dive into deep snowbanks, no matter how much fun they may have. You never know what’s under a drift, and it’s also possible for pets to sink into deep snow and become buried. Your companion might exhaust themselves trying to get out! It’s safest to stick to roads or sidewalks that have already been plowed or shoveled.
Where there’s snow, there’s probably ice. Ice is just as dangerous for our pets as it is to us! Not only can your animal companion lose their footing and fall on a slippery patch, perhaps hyperextending a limb or straining muscles, they’re likely to come in contact with road salt or chemical de-icing products that are applied to ice. These materials can be tracked back inside on the paws, then ingested later when your pet licks their paws—you don’t want your four-legged friend swallowing these chemicals! Do your best to have your pet avoid icy patches when on outdoor walks.
One of the best ways to help your pet stay comfortable when it’s cold and snow-covered outside is by dressing them appropriately for the outdoors. Coats and parkas are widely available and are particularly helpful for those pets who don’t have a thick coat of fur to keep them warm. Booties are great for keeping the paws and sensitive paw pads safe from harm, although not all pets will take kindly to wearing them. Ask your vet for more advice on warm pet clothing.
For more tips on keeping your pet safe during winter conditions, call your vet’s office. We’re happy to help!