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How to Keep Your Pets Safe in the Winter

Published: January 4, 2017

It’s winter. If you’re cold, chances are so are your pets. Sure, they may have some handy built-in insulation and fur, but they’re not all cut out for chilly temps and bad weather.

Here’s what you need to know to keep your pets safe this winter:


Opt for indoors. Use common sense. When the weather’s stormy or frigid, best for you and your pets to stay inside. If you do have to go out, bundle up and avoid lengthy exposure to the elements. And just like your car turns into an oven in the summer, it’s a refrigerator in the winter. Don’t leave your pet in your cold car!  

Indoors, make sure your pets have somewhere warm and comfortable to rest and sleep. Pet beds and blankets are better than cold floors. Consider using a humidifier. Exposure to dry, cold air and repeated trips from the cold into dry heat can cause itchy, flaking skin and chapped, sore paws.

Towel dry. Those winter walks can do more than just leave your pets soaked and shivering. Dangerous ice-melt chemicals can stick to their paws and cause illness—or worse. Wash off their paws and use a towel to dry your pet as soon as he comes in. Remove snow and ice balls that may have stuck to his fur and pay special attention to his foot pads.

Dress for success. Strapping a doggie sweater on your St. Bernard won’t just make all his doggie buddies laugh at him; it’ll make him hot and bothered. On the other hand, small dogs and breeds with short hair or thin coats will benefit from some stylish warm. Opt for a washable wool/cotton blend and make sure the coat fits well. You want a tight enough fit so your pup can’t slip out of the sweater, but loose enough so it’s not uncomfortable. And don’t forget their feet. If you can’t keep booties on, massage a petroleum jelly or paw protectant into your pet’s paw pads before going outside.

Change your pet’s routine. Staying warm in the winter requires more calories so increase your pet’s food intake. Make sure they have plenty of food and fresh water to stay hydrated. Frequent bathing can remove essential oils, dry out skin, and leave it itchy and flaky, so cut back on baths. When you do bathe pets, add a moisturizer. Don’t shave their coats down to the skin. For long-haired breeds, trim back fur to minimize clinging snow and ice.

Remember others. Of course you want to protect your own pets, but don’t forget your neighbors. If you see an animal left outdoors in the winter, say something. If you believe a pet is being mistreated, report it to the ASPCA or your local animal shelter. And to protect animals that aren’t pets, give your car’s hood a rap before you start up. Wild animals often seek shelter close to warm engines in the winter.


Do you love animals? Then maybe you should consider a career as a Veterinary Assistant. At Charter College, you could complete our Certificate in Veterinary Assistant program in as little as 10 months. It even includes a 180 hour externship at a veterinary clinic where you’d get to test out your new skills and observe others in the field. Contact our Oxnard, CA campus to learn more now.