Cold Weather Dangers for Pets

dog outdoors in winter

Here in New England, we’re having some of the coldest weather days ever. Not only should we be careful to bundle up outdoors, check in on the elderly and safely use space heaters, we should also be giving some extra care and attention to our pets.

It’s easy to think that they are built to adapt to colder climates and that their layers of fur will protect them from feeling the sting of the cold temps, but that’s not entirely true. Domesticated animals who have become more and more a part of our homes are not the same as those who survive in the wild and they too should be given special care when temps drop below freezing.

Here are some cold weather dangers to consider when it comes to our four-legged friends.

Frostbite and Hypothermia

Just like humans, exposure to freezing temperatures can lead to frostbite or hypothermia for pets. Once their body is no longer able to stay warm, they will begin shivering and shaking and are at extreme risk. The other problem is created by prolonged exposure to the freezing cold for their extremities. The risk is even greater for small breed dogs, puppies, and kittens that cannot withstand such cold extremes.

Slips & Falls

With all of the ice on the ground, it can be easy for your pet to slip and hurt themselves. Even if you’re only letting them out to relieve themselves, the areas they normally run along can be much more slick and dangerous right now. Use a leash  and help guide them to a safe area to use the bathroom.

Paw Damage & Poisoning

The other issue with cold temperatures and the ice storm we recently experienced is the amount of salt laid down to help melt some of the ice. While it may work to lessen the ice on the ground it can be very poisonous and damaging to pet’s paws. When going outdoors protect their paws with booties, use an ointment or Vaseline and then wipe them clean as soon as possible before your pet can begin licking the harmful chemicals.