Old Chocolate lab dogGaloshes? Check. Coat and scarf? Check. Flu shot? Check. For people, winter readiness is a part of life, but do we as pet owners also consider all the important factors that go into pet winter safety?

To help your bestie stay safe and comfortable despite the ice, wind, and cold, Beverly Hills Veterinary Associates has compiled some of our top tips for pet winter safety.

Our Senior Pet Friends

Before we get started, we want to remind senior pet owners about some potential problems. Many aging pets struggle with arthritis or other joint conditions, making this time of year even more difficult. Daily exercise needs may also be put on hold during the cold season (especially over the holidays), resulting in unhealthy weight gain.

That’s why we encourage pet owners to bring their loveable fur kids in for a checkup twice a year and to discuss how to prepare an aging pet for the ensuing cold.

5 Essential Pet Winter Safety Tips

  1. Mind the paws – During colder months, pet paws are often subject to dryness, cracking, and other injuries. When returning from a walk, be sure to clean off your pet’s paws to remove salt and other chemicals from the sidewalks and roadways. Never let your pet ingest snow (or melted snow) due to the toxic substances used outside during the winter.
  2. Hypothermia – Outdoor-loving or outdoor-only pets are at risk of hypothermia. Consider bringing all pets inside when unsupervised and become familiar with the signs of hypothermia.
  3. Dark mornings and nights – For most of us, when we arrive home from work, there’s very little daylight left. Therefore, it’s understandable why many dog walks take place after dark. However, to avoid an accident and to ensure your pet’s visibility, use an illuminated collar or vest to keep both of you safe.
  4. Caloric intake – If your pet gets less exercise during the winter, please consult us to keep your pet on track and at a healthy weight. Sometimes, diet and portion sizes must be adjusted to account for changes in age, weight, health, and lifestyle.
  5. Gear up – Winter requires a lot more prep when it comes to pet gear and accessories. To keep your companion comfortable, safe, and cozy, consider purchasing a high-quality coat, rain jacket, and booties. Many pets will also need extra blankets at night and will need their beds repositioned to avoid drafts and other cold areas.

Remember, one of the best tips for pet winter safety is to schedule a pre-winter wellness exam and consultation. We can help you make any necessary changes to keep your pet healthy and active, as well as provide recommendations about proper nutrition and exercise.