Keeping pets warm during the winter is part of winter pet safety

The Farmer’s Almanac predicts a mild winter this year, but let’s face it, here in Chicagoland, the winter is never really “mild.” Regardless of the howling winds, subzero temperatures, and mounds of snow, Fido still needs his daily walk and potty breaks.

While we certainly know how to bundle ourselves up to stay warm, what about our pets? When it comes to keeping pets warm this winter, The Pet Experts at Naperville Animal Hospital have a few ideas!

Sweater Weather

There’s nothing cuter than a dog in a sweater, but figuring out what your pet truly needs is a bit more involved.  

  • Short-haired breeds, senior dogs, puppies, and dogs with certain medical conditions will benefit from a protective coat or sweater. Dogs with thick fur or double-coats may only need the extra warmth during periods of extreme cold.
  • Depending on the frequency and duration of your dog’s walks, waterproof outerwear may be a better investment than a cute crocheted sweater.  
  • Any coat or sweater should fit properly. Always measure your pet first, and make sure that any straps aren’t too snug. Outerwear that’s too tight or too loose won’t provide adequate protection.
  • Just because a doggie coat or hoodie looks heavy, doesn’t mean it’s warm enough. Be sure to research brands and styles before making a purchase.
  • Don’t allow your male dog to urinate on the belly straps of their coat, as this wetness could increase the risk of frostbite.
  • Always remove any sweater, sweatshirt, or coat when indoors. Your dog can easily overheat, and sweating inside clothing can increase their risk of hypothermia the next time they go outside.

Precious Paws

It’s easy to believe your pet’s paw pads are tough-as-nails, but they’re actually much more sensitive than we realize. Snow, ice, and road salt can do a number on your pet’s paws, and deicers, antifreeze, and other chemicals can be toxic if ingested (how many times have you seen your pet lick their paws?).

Weatherproof booties may be the solution, depending on how often your dog is walked and how well they adjust to wearing shoes (give us a call for recommendations). A thin layer of paw balm, such as Musher’s Secret, can be very effective in preventing dryness, cracks, and bleeding. Always wash your dog’s paws after being outside to remove built up ice, debris, and chemical residue.

Keeping Pets Warm

When the weather outside is frightful, the best place for your pet is indoors with you. Cold weather can be deadly for animals that are left outside too long. If you spot a pet outside during very cold weather, check in with their owner to make sure they’re aware of the situation. If that doesn’t work, contact the police or follow these tips from the Humane Society about what to do when a pet is left out in the cold.

From all of us at Naperville Animal Hospital, we wish you and your pet a wonderful (and warm) holiday season! As always, please contact us with any questions or concerns.