Keeping Pets Safe in the Winter


Frostbite Prevention

Remove ice and snow from your pets paws and coat as often as you can while you’re outside and again when you come in. Frostbitten skin may turn reddish, white, or gray and may get scaly or slough off. If you think your pet has frostbite, take her to a warm place immediately. Apply warm (not hot!), moist towels to the affected area (changing frequently) until the area becomes flushed. Call your veterinarian as soon as possible as they will probably want to evaluate the extent of the damage and determine the seriousness of the condition.

Snow/Ice Removal Salt

Some substances used to melt ice and snow have low to moderate toxicity for your pet. Read the labels and take the necessary precautions. Make sure you remove salt from your pet’s paws immediately to prevent ingestion. If possible, buy pet ‘friendly’ salt, but I would still advise removing that from your pet’s feet, as well.


Even a single lick of antifreeze can be deadly for your pet. ALL antifreeze products on the market are toxic. Thoroughly clean up spills immediately and keep containers closed tightly and away from pets. If you think your pet has ingested antifreeze, contact your veterinarian immediately.

Outdoor Pets

Housing: Make sure your outdoor pet has a warm, insulated shelter. It should be elevated somewhat to prevent moisture accumulation inside. If possible provide a door of some kind, maybe canvas, to keep out winter winds. If your pet is in a pen, you can stretch canvas over the top of it and provide protection from winds using bales of straw. If the wind chill or winds become severe, bring your pet inside!

Cats, in particular, will sometimes climb onto vehicle engines for warmth. Before starting your vehicle, knock on the hood and honk the horn. Even if your own outdoor cat doesn’t do this, a neighbor’s cat might. Better safe than sorry.

Food and Water: Staying warm in the winter requires extra calories, so feed your pet accordingly when the temperatures drop. Talk to your veterinarian for her/his specific advice for your pet and increasing food. Always make sure your pet has access to fresh, clean water. Check it frequently and replace it as it may freeze if it gets cold enough. Water bowls that plug in and keep water from freezing are an excellent investment.


Following these tips will help keep your pets safe and warm during the blustery winter season!