You know the popular winter song, “Baby it’s Cold Outside”? It turns out that pets can think it’s cold outside too. Your pets need more attention in the winter.

Follow our six tips below for a great winter with your pet!

1. The first thing is to check the weather. If it’s too cold for you, it’s probably too cold for your pets. A good way to monitor their temperature is to be outside with them while exercising or going to the bathroom. If you do stay inside, be sure to listen for scratching or barking at the door so that you can let them back in when they are ready.

2. When your pets come back inside, make sure to completely dry them off. Put special emphasis on cleaning off any wet paws; not only will it help clean your house clean, but it will get any snow, ice, or chemicals. If you take them on walks, you can also bring a towel on the walk to periodically stop and clean their paws off. Another alternative is to buy boots for your pet.

3. In order to keep your pet as warm as possible, don’t shave them or cut their hair before winter. The extra layer will provide an extra bit of warmth. For pets with shorter hair, you can try putting a coat or sweater on them (just be aware they may not like it).

4. Pets should never be left outside in cars or left outside overnight. Their body temperatures do not acclimate well to the climate and they could develop hypothermia. Symptoms of hypothermia include shivering, weakness, muscle stiffness, shallow breathing, fixed or dilated pupils, and difficulty breathing.

5. If your pet does develop hypothermia (under 98 degrees Fahrenheit), or needs some help warming up, we recommend these steps:

  • Call your veterinarian
  • Wrap your pet in warm blankets
  • Give them something warm to drink
  • Place a (wrapped) warm object, like a bottle, on their stomach or torso
  • Monitor their temperature every 10 minutes

If the case is severe enough, your veterinarian will need to rewarm your pet internally, through IVs and warm water enemas.

6. Additionally, and although this doesn’t have to do with your pet, some animals like cats like to sleep under car hoods during cold months. Before turning your car on, hit the hood of your car a little bit just to check for any animals.

We hope these tips lead to a warm and safe winter with your pets!