Cat in a sweater.

Winter is here, and for cold-weather-loving cat and dog breeds, winter means chasing snowflakes and pouncing in drifts of white fluff. But many of our furry friends feel the chill every bit as much as we do in spite of their coats, and it’s up to us to make sure they stay toasty when temperatures dip.

At Main Street Veterinary Clinic, we love helping your pets live their best lives through wellness and preventive care plus treatments for unexpected illnesses when they arise. The winter months can put your pet’s health at risk, so check out our team’s tips for protecting your pets from Old Man Winter.

Keep Your Pets Indoors

It sounds obvious, but some pet owners assume that an animal’s coat makes it impervious to the cold. But if it’s too cold for you to stay outside, it’s too cold for your cat or dog. When an animal’s body temperature gets too low, they can become disoriented, leaving them vulnerable to getting lost or injured. And never leave your pet alone in a car—ever. Cars act like refrigerators in the cold weather, trapping the frigid air inside and putting pets at risk. 

Dry Paws are Warm Paws

After every potty break and walk around the block, wipe off your pet’s paws to remove snow, salt, or other deicing chemicals, and to keep them dry. Another option: waterproof snow booties! And when the snow’s deep, don’t forget to towel off your pup’s tummy, too. 

Dress Them for the Season

Short-haired breeds and senior pets are more prone to the winter chill. A high-collared sweater will keep them toasty and stylish. 

Turn Up the Humidity

A humidifier not only makes the ambient air feel warmer, but it also can protect your pet from dermatological issues like itchy, irritated skin. 

Calories Count When It’s Cold

A few extra treats, some gravy-like food toppers, or a bigger helping of their favorite foods can help your pets replenish the extra energy they’re burning to keep warm. 

Limit Baths

Bathing your pet too often in winter can lead to dry, flaky skin. Bathe your pup less frequently than usual, and use a veterinarian-approved moisturizing shampoo. Be sure your dog is completely dry before letting him go outside.

It’s All About Location

Is your pet’s bed on the floor, or near a window or draft? In the winter months, make sure your pet’s bed is in a warm location, and consider adding a fleece blanket or soft pillow for extra coziness. Another option: Place a self-warming pad under the pet bed. 

Fur: The Long and the Short of It

If your long-haired pet normally sports a shorter coif in the summer, let your pet’s fur grow to its natural length and fullness in the winter for added warmth. Ask your groomer to trim the ends only, and your pet’s coat will stay healthy and well-tamed. 

We hope you’ve found these tips helpful! Please contact us if you have any questions about winter pet safety or to schedule your pet’s next visit.