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How to Best Care for Your Pets During the Winter

Winter is creeping up on us fast, so it's time to begin taking the necessary precautions. That means it's time to put up the storm windows, time to break out the space heaters, and time to get your winter clothes out of the attic. But what about your pets? Depending on where you live, your pets need special care and consideration during these cold winter months, too. The following are some tips for you to follow to ensure that you're properly taking care of your furry friends during wintertime.

  • Be sure to take your pets to the vet for a winter check-up before the cold weather blows in. Your vet can look your animals over to ensure that they don't have any conditions that would make them more vulnerable to cold weather.
  • After you take your dog for a walk during the winter months, be sure to rinse and dry off his paws. Rock salt, which is commonly used to melt ice on sidewalks and driveways, can seriously irritate footpads. If your dog's paws do get irritated, purchase a soothing lotion and save a few bucks by using a petmeds coupon code.
  • Have a cat who spends most of her time outdoors? Break the habit during wintertime and keep her indoors. Cats can actually freeze to death if left outdoors for too long in the cold. If you live in extreme cold environments like we do, we have to keep our cats indoors. When the temperatures outdoors get below zero, we have to force our cats to stay inside. Sometimes they would rather stay in our heated garage or a quiet dark room in our house. Make sure if your cat gets out that you have a small-insulated box or warmer area they can retreat to.
  • If it's too chilly for you to stand at your open door without a coat on, then it's too cold for your dog to be left outside for too long without some sort of protection, whether it be a coat or dog house.
  • Before you get into your car, knock on the hood or honk the horn. Cats will often crawl under the hood to curl up against your warm car engine.
  • If you live close to a pond or lake that becomes icy in the wintertime, be extremely cautious about allowing your dog to play near the ice. He could easily fall through that ice and become injured or trapped.
  • Provide your animals with plenty of water during the winter. They are just as likely to become dehydrated during the cold winter months as they are in the hot summer months. Also, don't think that snow is a good substitute for water—it's not. If its cold outside, any water in your pet’s water dish will freeze, so keep that in mind.
  • If you take long walks, never ever let your dog off her leash on snow or ice. She can easily lose her scent and become lost in this type of situation. And always be sure to equip your pup with ID tags just in case something does happen and she wanders off.
  • Dogs will often seek out heat by snuggling very close to heat sources such as lamps and space heaters. Avoid burns by pet-proofing your radiator, space heaters, lamps, and fireplaces.

As you can see, there are many things that you should keep in mind when caring for your pets during wintertime. What other tips and pieces of advice would you like to share with fellow pet owners regarding how to best care for animals in cold weather?

Melissa is the co-owner of, has two cats of her own and lives in Wasilla, Alaska where the winters can be extremely cold and harsh for animals. Whether you live in a harsh winter environment like Melissa or in the South where winters are usually mild, be sure to take care of your pets and be prepared for any type of winter conditions. Now would be a great time to get your pet's health checked by a licensed Vet and be sure to always use a 1800petmeds coupon code or a PetcareRX coupon on any of your pet's medications needs.