Time marches on, but the steps seem to be much slower during the winter months. To be sure, the cold weather seems to drag on through long, dark days and even longer, darker weeks.

Perhaps one of the better ways to get through the seasonal slump is by paying extra attention to the welfare of our community’s pets. Our winter pet safety tips aim to help New Jersey’s animals stay safe and warm, so we can all get through the cold, windy weather together.

Your Four Walls

Many pets simply cannot abide by staying indoors all winter long, but if the temperature is below freezing, it’s the safest place for them to be. Sure, there are thick-coated breeds that can easily (and enthusiastically) withstand frigid temps, but no pet should be left outside for long (and never overnight).

If your pet is happiest when outside, please ensure there is an accessible shelter available, as well as clean, unfrozen drinking water.

Tough Conditions

Of course, you have to get outside for some exercise this winter! Please don’t be afraid, just be prepared. Find the right gear for your dog; there are dozens of great vests and jackets out there to keep your pet warm and dry.

Keeping your pet’s paws clean, dry, and warm is another consideration for overall winter pet safety. Either try a set of rugged booties or make sure to rinse and dry the paws upon returning home. Ice and ice melt chemicals seriously dry out your pet’s feet. If the de-icer or road salt is licked off, you could be facing other serious problems as well.

Winter Pet Safety Rules

On a similar note, chemicals like the ones found in antifreeze are highly toxic to pets. Antifreeze contains poisonous levels of ethylene glycol, and the sweet smell and taste make it very attractive to curious pets. Clean up any spills or leaks, and be vigilant in looking for any pools of this substance while outside together. Also be sure to store your vehicle’s antifreeze in a closed cupboard.

Speaking of Cars…

In the winter, it’s not uncommon for cats to squeeze themselves into the small, spare space adjacent to a car’s engine block. They do this to keep warm, but this opportunity can be fatal if an unsuspecting driver starts up the vehicle. Please bang on the hood of your car before starting up your engine.

The Snooze Factor

Cold drafts are no fun, but for senior pets and those with degenerative joint disease, they can make aches and pains even worse. Invest in a self-heating pet bed or raise your existing one off the floor, away from doors and windows. Please let us know if we can help support your senior pet this winter.

Nourishing Nutrition

It may seem reasonable to stock up on extra calories during the winter – you know, to increase tolerance to cold (or something like that). However, your pet probably doesn’t require any extra portions. Before you increase his or her meal size, please talk with us. Hitting the streets and sidewalks this spring will be easier without those extra pounds!

All Year Round

We’re here for your pet throughout the year, but the cold weather has the potential to expose pets to very specific risks. Please call us if you have any questions or concerns about winter pet safety.

Stay warm and safe!