Cold Weather Tips for Pet Health

We hear a lot about the dangers of excessive heat during the summer, but cold weather can be equally dangerous for pets. Read on for tips on making sure your pet stays happy and healthy through the winter!

Watch for arthritis and other joint pain issues

Cold weather can worsen some medical conditions—especially osteoarthritis. If your pet seems stiffer than normal or less willing to be active, consider adding in a supplement or talking with your vet.

Keep an eye on the paws

Your dog’s paws can suffer from cracked and bleeding paws and other cold-weather injury or damage. If your pet develops sudden lameness during a walk, or balks about going for a walk, they may have ice accumulation between their toes. Keeping the hair between your dog’s toes clipped can keep iceball accumulation to a minimum. 

Know your pet

Different pets react differently to the cold. The thickness of their coat, body fat stores, activity level, and overall health are just a few of the things that affect their tolerance for cold weather. Older pets may have trouble walking on snow and ice, while shorter-haired pets will often feel the cold faster. Diabetes, heart disease, kidney disease, and endocrine disorders can impair your pet’s ability to regulate their body temperature, so pets with these conditions should be watched carefully. 

Your pet’s coat might not be enough

Dog and cat inside in cozy blanket

If your dog’s coat is thin or very short, they meed need a jacket for extra warmth. Very small dogs also struggle to retain their body heat and may extra covering. You may also consider bootie’s for your dog’s feet during periods of snow and ice.

Watch out for deicing chemicals

If you live in a colder region, your roads are likely coated with deicers that can be toxic. Be sure to clean your pet when returning from walks during the winter to reduce poisoning risks. 

Provide indoor options 

Even if your pet is typically an outdoor animal, they will need indoor shelter during the heart of the winter. Don’t leave pet outside unattended for long periods of time without access to warm shelter. 

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