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Keep Your Pets Safe During the Winter Season

Originally published on Allstate.com

Winter can bring cold temperatures, snow or ice to your area. While you’re likely prepared to take on the winter season by breaking out the warm clothing and shovels, what about your pets? Here are some tips on how you can help keep your four-legged family members comfortable and safe all winter long.

Keep Your Pet Warm

While they still face risks in cold weather, pets with thick or long hair tend to be more tolerant of the cold, says the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association. When you groom your long-haired pet, consider simply trimming its fur (not shaving it down to their skin), to help keep it warmer in the cold, and when you bathe your dog, make sure they are completely dry before taking them outside.

On the other hand, short-haired pets tend to get cold faster, as they have less fur to insulate their body. Dogs with short fur may benefit from a pet sweater or coat to help them stay warm, says the Ontario SPCA and Humane Society. Cats and puppies are also vulnerable in cold temperatures so keep them indoors or take them outside for short periods of time.

Protect Their Paws From De-icing Chemicals

Salt and other de-icing chemicals can be harmful to your pet. Before taking your dog outside, massage petroleum jelly or a paw-protectant solution on their paw pads to help prevent redness and irritation, advises PetSmart Canada. Winter boots made for pets may also be a good idea to help protect their paws.

When bringing your pet back inside, use a towel to wipe down their paws and belly to help remove any chemical residue from their body. This can help prevent your pet from ingesting harmful chemicals if they lick their paws. When purchasing de-icers, consider looking for pet safe options, such as ones offered at Canadian Tire.

Limit Their Time Outdoors

The Ontario SPCA also mentions that like humans, dogs and cats may be susceptible to frostbite — especially on their earflaps and tails. Therefore it’s a good idea to keep dogs inside when possible, and take shorter walks in the winter.

Emergency Preparedness for Your Pets

Power outages or winter weather-related disasters can be a real threat to you and your pets if winter weather becomes severe in your area, according to Emergency Management Ontario. Consider creating a Pet Emergency Survival Kit in case this happens. Include things like three to seven days’ worth of water and food (per pet), manual can opener, familiar bedding, a blanket, toys and a flashlight.

Cold temperatures may pose health risks to cats and dogs. But, taking some precautions can help make winter more enjoyable for you and your pets. Remember these tips during the cold season so you can be better prepared.