Winter Safety Tips for Pets

It’s easy for us to assume that our pets will be just fine out in the cold thanks to their fur coats, but this is really not the case. Animals can experience frostbite and hypothermia as well, and should be supervised at all times when they go outdoors to do their business or enjoy some exercise.

Dealing with Cold Temperatures

There are various ways to protect your pet from the chill of winter:

  • Keep them indoors more often
  • Take them on shorter walks
  • Give them protective jackets and booties to wear when you take them outside
  • Build a sturdy shelter several inches off the ground that includes straw to absorb moisture and plenty of warm, soft bedding. This should be used if your pet needs to remain outside for any reason.
  • Keep their fur trimmed (especially on their paws) to prevent little balls of snow and ice from sticking.
  • Have a pet-safe, heated bed or pad for your pet to lay on. This is especially useful if your heater isn’t working correctly.

Avoiding Sidewalk Salt

Sidewalk salt is extremely effective at clearing away snow and ice, but it can burn your pet’s paw pads and even cause secondary burns to the mouth if they try to lick the salt from their paws. To clear your own driveway and sidewalk, opt for a pet-friendly de-icer. Regular salt not only burns; it can also make your pet sick if they manage to consume a large enough quantity.

If you see any salt stuck in your pet’s fur, remove it before entering the house.


Antifreeze is generally acknowledged by many to be a highly toxic substance for pets, but it bears repeating. The ethylene glycol that can be found in most antifreeze products can cause serious illness and even death in animals. Make sure any and all antifreeze containers are secured in a safe place far away from your pet, and look for spills/puddles.

Cats and Car Engines

If you or a neighbor has cats that like to wander outside, they might occasionally use your car as shelter, squeezing under the hood and cozying up next to the engine where it’s warmest. Before getting into your car and starting it first thing in the morning, knock on the hood (or open it) to check for cats. You could save a life by doing this!