Help ensure your pets stay happy and healthy this winter by keeping these five cold weather pet safety tips from our Emergency Medicine team in mind.

Limit Exposure to Freezing Temperatures:
If it is too cold for you to be outside, it is likely too cold for your pet. Be mindful of the amount of time your pet spends outside. Even short-term exposure to freezing temperatures can lead to frostbite and hypothermia . Provide small dogs or those with thin hair a coat or sweater if going outside. Wearing pet booties can also help keep your pet’s feed warm and dry.

Supervise Potty Breaks and Keep Walks Brisk:
If letting your pet out into the yard for a potty break, it is always best to stand by the door and call them back inside immediately after they’ve finished. Standing by the door until your pet is ready to come back inside can limit the risk of becoming distracted by something else going on inside the house and accidentally leaving them out in the cold for too long. It is also best to limit the amount of time spent on walks during the cold winter months in order to avoid over-exposure to frigid temperatures. Walks should be just long enough for your pet to relieve themselves.

Avoid Contact with Chemicals:
Common chemicals used during the winter months can be hazardous to pets. Extreme caution should be used when storing anti-freeze, as many formulas contain ethylene glycol, which can be deadly if consumed by a pet. Although rock salt is not typically deadly, it can cause burning and irritation if in contact with a pet’s paws, as well as stomach irritation when licked from the paws and swallowed. A simple solution for avoiding contact with rock salt is to purchase pet booties for your pet to wear when outdoors.

 Dress your Pet in Waterproof Clothing:
When it’s cold outside, help protect your pet by providing a waterproof coat or sweater. When outside during the winter months, there is a chance your pet may come into contact with ice, snow, or slush, which can saturate a non-waterproof clothing item.  A cold, wet piece of clothing can lead to sickness and/or illness rather than delivering the intended warmth and protection.

Supervise Access to Warming Devices:
Pets should never be left unattended around warming and/or heating devices, such as space heaters, electric blankets, or open flames.  If a pet is cold, they may get too close to the warming device, which can put them at risk for burns or other injuries should the device be knocked over.

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