Tips to Keep Pets Safe When it’s Cold Outside

January 16, 2018 at 9:00 AM by Nikki Wardle

Dog in snow

It’s the middle of the Treasure Valley’s coldest, driest, harshest season, and you may be wondering how to ensure your pet stays warm and comfortable during the chilly winter months. In Idaho, we experience sleet, snow, and dry, cold air in the winter, posing potential health pitfalls for pets and humans alike. With a little planning, forethought, and awareness, you can keep your dog cozy and healthy during the next few months of winter.

Winter Care for Your Dog

For a few more months, we’ll be dealing with sub-freezing temperatures and volatile weather. Whether your dog stays inside the majority of the time or is out on the foothill trails with you this season, it’s important to pay attention to their health and safety during the winter.

Watch Out for Dryness

During the winter months, we spend a lot of time indoors with the blowing air of a furnace on for heat. This can dry your pet’s skin out (and yours!), causing itchiness and flaking. Keep a humidifier on in your house during the winter to ease this dryness and towel off your pet’s feet as soon as you come inside. A humidifier will also help with the scratchy throat that comes along with being inside with a furnace on all day.

Keep Your Dog’s Coat Long

Never shave your dog’s coat down close during the winter months, even if you’re tired of finding furballs in your vacuum. Your dog’s fur is their warmth during the winter, and it also helps him avoid ice, salt crystals, and de-icing chemicals that could harm sensitive skin. If your dog is small or short-haired, choose a warm sweater to use during the coldest months.

Skip the Bath

During the winter months, a bath can bring your dog’s temperature down fast and also increase skin dryness. Shoot for fewer baths during the winter and instead brush more often to remove dirt and debris.

Stay Inside

If it’s too cold for you outside, it’s too cold for your pet. Never leave your dog outside on sub-freezing nights or days, and don’t lock them in your car while running errands. When your pet is inside, make sure they have a warm place to sleep that’s off the floor and away from any drafts from doors or windows. A dog bed or crate can be a cozy place for your dog to sleep.

Increase Feedings

Your dog may need a little more food during the winter months to keep up with the extra energy it takes to stay warm. Increase your pet’s daily food intake a bit to provide some more calories, and keep her water bowl filled at all times.

Your pet doesn’t have to be uncomfortable during the winter months with the right planning and attention from you. For more information about how you can keep your pet safe during the winter, contact us today.

Topics: Pet Care

Nikki Wardle

Written by Nikki Wardle

Nikki has been writing for Intermountain Pet Hospital since 2014.