Winter Tips for Pets

Updated: July 02, 2024

"Among all the seasons, it is during winter that most pets get lost. This is because snow can cover all the familiar scents that would usually help your furbaby find their way home."

Winter Tips for Pets

The holidays are almost here and it means winter is coming! This is one of the times in the year where your furbaby will be needing extra care and protection for them to be safe.

Winter tips for pets are a must to keep them safe this season. That is why in this article, we will talk about the top winter safety tips for your pets. We’ll look at potential dangers, like dehydration, frostbite, and hypothermia in dogs and cats. We will also share how you can protect your furbaby from the winter weather and even discuss some products that will help keep your dog or cat comfortable and happy.

Winter safety precautions for pets

Here are some winter pet safety tips to help keep your furbabies comfortable and safe through the winter. From hydration for your pets to hypothermia in dogs, these are a few things to keep in mind during the cold weather.

Dogs Can Get Cold, Too!

Contrary to what most pet parents think – that their pets never get cold because they have fur, they actually do! Dogs and cats get cold but some are more sensitive than others, especially those with thin and short coats, young pets, senior pets, and those with disabilities & illnesses.

Limit the time you spend outside with your pet, even if they love the snow. Some furbabies love to be outdoors but frostbite and hypothermia can pose a great threat. If the temperature outside is too cold for you, then it probably is too cold for your dog.

Now, you might notice that a dog with a heavy, thick coat does not want to come back inside and seem to love the cold. Breeds like Siberian Huskies, Alaskan Malamutes, Bernese Mountain Dogs, or Newfoundlands will likely want to be outside a little bit longer than dogs with short or thin coats. You can allow your dog with a thick, double coat to stay outside longer since they are built for that weather if they are enjoying their time outside. However, it is still best to bring them back inside after they have had a little break outside to prevent hypothermia in dogs or frostbite. Do not allow them to stay outside for hours at a time or overnight.

Do Not Let Hypothermia and Frostbite 'Bite'

Brrrrr! With varying degrees of coldness, frostbite happens when your pet's body gets cold. The body will immediately pull blood from other body parts to keep the center of the body as warm as possible. Your pet's skin may turn ice cold and hard.

winter safety precautions for pets

Can dogs get hypothermia? Yes. Hypothermia in dogs can also happen. The cold can greatly affect your pet's ability to circulate blood and breathe properly. This is life threatening. To avoid hypothermia in dogs, you should definitely be mindful enough to know if your pet is cold and then you should keep them warm and dry. All. The. Time.

You can help prevent frostbite or hypothermia in dogs by having them wear a good coat (only if necessary) and towel drying them off after walking or rolling around in the snow. Something that is also extremely important is to make sure your furbaby is completely dry after a bath, especially before going outside! If your pup appears shaking or cold after being outside, wrap them up in a Pawtect® Blanket and cuddle them to help get their body temperature back up.

Consider Alternatives Like Pee Pads

Some pets are vulnerable to harsh winter conditions and you may find you are having trouble getting your pet to go outside to potty (I am sure a lot of you are nodding your heads). Putting some Pawtect® Pads down is one option for your dog if they are having trouble or refusing to go outside. Note, you will still have to pad train your dog if you want them to use puppy pads.

If your pet is already potty trained, it may take some time and reinforcement to get them to use them inside. Another option is to use Dog Diapers. These will successfully catch any pee or poop, so your pet can stay warm and dry while your home stays nice and clean. These are great options if it is simply too cold or icy for your dog outside or you have a dog with health concerns like arthritis.

Give Skin and Coat Supplements 

Just like with humans, winter and less humidity can cause your pet's skin to itch and flake, so providing salmon oil for dogs is a great option. Also, a great winter pet safety tip is to keep your home humidified as much as possible and observe your pet's feet and toes. If you feel like your pet's skin is beginning to become dry, applying a healing balm specially formulated for animals.

To help prevent dry and cracked skin (which if untreated can be really painful), moisturize your pet's skin and provide them with a supplement that contains salmon oil for dogs. Omega 3 for dogs will keep their skin and coat healthy – making them look even more beautiful, too! Pet Parents® offers Skin & Coat SoftSupps® that contain omega 3 fatty acids, Vitamin C, Biotin, and whole ingredients with no fillers. These supplements help support a healthy coat and contain 131% more active ingredients than other leading brands so that your dog can get all the benefits of the ingredients. These supplements can be included in your dog’s daily diet, but can be especially helpful during the dry winter months.

winter safety tips for pets

Protect The Paws

During your days out, your furbaby might step on different kinds of chemicals that are toxic and harmful, like de-icers and antifreeze. Always supervise your furbaby and ensure they do not lick their paws.

Make sure to thoroughly wipe or clean their paws before going inside your house as well. Pet WiPees™ Dog All Purpose + Skin and Coat wipes can clean paws from snow, salt, or dirt. These gentle dog wipes are safe for every day use and can be used all over the body where needed. Plus, they contain omega oils and hydrating moisturizers, so they won't dry out your dog's skin or paws. 

Keep The Leash On

Among all the seasons, it is during winter that most pets get lost. This is because snow can cover all the familiar scents that would usually help your furbaby find their way home. It can also be easy to loose track of your dog in snowy conditions.

This is a great warning sign to always keep your furbaby on a leash while taking a walk. Also, make sure to keep your furbaby’s tags, IDs, and microchips updated with all information, like their name, your name, your address, and your contact details.

Choose The Right Bedding

Even if your furbaby is inside your house, it is still not advisable to let them sleep on the floor. Provide your dog with elevated bedding and a snug blanket, like Pawtect® Blankets. These blankets are waterproof and are specifically designed with faux fur fabric and proprietary Sherpup™ multi-layer material that allows no moisture to leak through either side.

With a variety of styles, sizes, colors, and with multiple layers of waterproof, leak-proof materials, we strongly advise placing our Pawtect® Blankets (together with your pet's bed) anywhere they love to cuddle-up to present worry-free holidays to the both of you.

Provide Suitable Shetler

During winter, ideally, your furbabies must be kept inside. And even if they are inside, provide them with the proper shelter they can call their own safe place. Place Pawtect® Blanket on top of their favorite bed.

For pets who principally live outdoors:

  • Provide them with a shelter that’s dry and large enough to allow them to move around, sit, lay down, and stand up comfortably but small enough to help them maintain their body heat.
  • Turn your furbaby’s shelter away from where wind can easily get inside and cover any opening.
  • Avoid any metal food and water bowls as your furbaby’s bowl may stick to it.
  • Use Pawtect® Pads to help keep your furbaby dry outdoors and pair it with Pawtect® Blanket to keep them warm and cozy.

Keep in mind that dogs can get cold too, especially when they have thin coats. An outdoor kennel that cold air can breeze through is not suitable protection for your furbaby against the winter weather.

Keep Your Dog and Cat Away From Heat Sources

Your pet might look for a place at home where it is warm and cozy. Oftentimes, you will find them curling up near fireplaces, but this can be a pet safety hazard if they get too close. Supervise and look after your pet at all times. Because even if your fireplace has a glass door or a covering, your pet can still get burnt when they in contact with these hot surfaces.

Maintain Food & Exercise Schedules

As always, cat and dog nutrition are important to keep your furbaby in the best shape. Winter is a time when you can re-evaluate your cat and dog nutrition. Be observant of your pet's activity level and adjust their diet accordingly. There are pets that become more active during winter months, and they will need more calories. While pets who prefer being a couch potato in the cold weather will need to cut down some calories, so they do not gain extra weight. Dog nutrition may vary slightly more than cats, since cats are usually kept inside and therefore do not have a substantial change in activity level. However, the same rule applies for both cats and dogs to update their food as activity changes.

Keep an eye on your pet's activity level and make sure they are getting the appropriate amount of nutrients and exercise so they can stay healthy during the winter months, as the winter months can be a 'downhill' time for our senior pets or pets with health conditions.

Provide Ideal Nutrition for Dogs

While it is true that pets need extra layers during the winter season, it should not be in fats but from their coat. The cold temperature during the winter results in lazy behaviors and extended sleeping times, so your furbaby’s body won’t be able to burn a lot of calories.

Overfeeding your pet will eventually lead to obesity. If you want them to still have a healthy diet and a healthier coat, provide them with a high-quality diet that’s mostly composed of whole foods like pumpkin, sweet potatoes, and grains. You can also provide them with Pet Parents® Skin and Coat SoftSupps®. These supplements contain essential fatty acids like Omega 3 and Omega 6 that help maintain your pet’s normal skin moisture and keep it away from drying during winter.

Pet Parents® Skin and Coat SoftSupps® are also formulated with antioxidants that fight off free radicals and toxins and have Biotin that’s packed with fiber, vitamins, and minerals that help encourage proper digestion & nutrient absorption, promoting overall health.

Note: Pet Parents® SoftSupps® are made only for dogs. For supplements for your cats, please consult your vet.

Keep Your Pet Hydrated

This pet safety tip goes all year-round. Cat and dog hydration is extremely important. But, many pet parents don’t realize that winter can dehydrate your pets as much as summer does! Make sure your pet has easy access to water, so they do not go parched. Always keep a full water bowl for your furbabies as a part of winter safety.

Aid for Seniors and Pets with Disabilities

The extremely cold weather during the winter season can worsen some existing medical issues in your pets like joint pains and arthritis. It is very essential to give extra care for senior pets and pets with disabilities. Don’t forget to keep up with your daily exercise even if it means just walking around your house.

For dogs with hip and joint pains, we suggest giving your furbaby Pet Parents® Hip and Joint SoftSupps®. These are joint supplements that promote mobility support & overall joint health, and aids in joint stress recovery.

Pet Parents® Hip and Joint SoftSupps® contain PurforMSM® & Glucosamine for dogs that assist in creating a cushion around the joints to promote better joint lubrication, sustaining more comfortable movements. These hip dog joint supplements can be relevant for dogs, especially during the winter.

Note: Pet Parents® Hip and Joint SoftSupps® do not act as a treatment for hip and joint problems in dogs. If your furbaby’s hip and joint issues worsen during the winter, please consult your vet immediately for proper treatment.

"For dogs with hip and joint pains, we suggest giving your furbaby Pet Parents® Hip and Joint SoftSupps®. These are joint supplements that promote mobility support & overall joint health"

Your pets will need a lot of extra care and love from you during the harsh winter weather and the discomfort it brings. As a pet parent, it is extremely important to keep your furbaby warm and dry all throughout the winter season for happier and healthier holidays. Watch out for signs of discomfort, hypothermia in dogs, and dehydration. Although the winter may not be your (or your furbaby’s) favorite time of year, you can follow these tips to help keep them safe and happy during the winter months.