7 Tips For Caring For Your Pet This Winter


4. Block Off Heat Sources

Dogs, and especially cats, may seek out sources of heat in your house as nice places to cuddle up or take a quick nap. But Ruch-Gallie warns that these spots present burn risks for pets, because they aren’t aware of how hot they can get. “Cats may try to curl up next to a radiator or jump up on a wood-burning stove,” she says. “Owners should make these places inaccessible to their pets during winter months.”


5. No Off-Leash Time

While your dog might love running around outdoors off leash, it can be especially risky when the temperatures drop. Dr. Elizabeth Rozanski, associate professor of emergency and critical care at the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University, says falls through ice may occur if a body of water isn’t fully frozen. Additionally, dogs are at an increased risk of being hit by vehicles, including snow plows.


6. Increase Intervals Between Baths

Moisturizer is your best friend during the winter, but your pet doesn’t have the same luxury. Baths tend to dry out their skin the same way it does yours. While it’s not the most serious of problems, dry skin can cause an animal some discomfort. Ruch-Gallie says it’s not advisable to cut out baths altogether from December to March—not only for the obvious (smelly) reasons, but also because some animals have allergies and require regular baths. That said, you may want to cut back on the frequency of baths, and speak with your vet to find a shampoo that’s more moisturizing than the average one, Ruch-Gallie suggests.


7. Keep a Blizzard Checklist Handy

If you live in a part of the country that’s prone to the occasional blizzard, it’s critical to have a checklist handy. This will help ensure you have everything your pet may need, in case you’re stranded for a few days. Ruch-Gallie says the same list you might have for yourself will apply well to your pet—blankets for warmth, battery-operated flashlights in case you lose power, clean water, plenty of food, medications, and something to stay entertained. She adds that you may want to keep all these things in one place. “If you’re thinking about leaving before the snow, make sure you have all these things together, in case you need to get out quickly,” she says.