With frigid cold weather across much of the US this week, now is a good time for some reminders on how to keep your companion animals safe when the temperatures drop. The American Veterinary Medical Association has compiled a list of pet winter safety tips. Here are a few highlights:

Be aware of your pet’s cold tolerance.

All pets are individuals, some are more comfortable in cold weather than others. Pets that are sensitive to cold include seniors, and pets with arthritis, short legs, and certain medical conditions like Cushing’s disease.

Keep cats and dogs indoors during cold weather.

Even pets from northern climates with thick coats (like Huskies) should be protected when the temperature drops to dangerous levels.

Check your pet’s paws for signs of cracked paw pads and ice and snow accumulation between the toes.

You should also clean their feet of any salt, antifreeze, or other deicing substances they might have picked up outside.

Know the signs of hypothermia in pets.

They include shivering, weakness, and moving slower than normal. Bring hypothermic pets inside right away and call your vet if necessary.

Provide shelter for horses and other livestock.

Outdoor animals need shelter in cold weather. Blankets and dry bedding are also important. Make sure all outdoor pets have access to fresh water that’s unfrozen and heated to a comfortable temperature for drinking.



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