Winter Safety Tips for Pets

The winter months present more than a frigid nuisance for our pets—some extra dangers arise that they don’t have to worry about during the summer. Read on as a Central Indianapolis veterinarian describes some cold-weather pet hazards.


If pets remain outdoors for too long, they can get frostbite. This is especially likely on the paws that contact the cold surface of the ground. Take care to not let your pet stay outside too long, and dress him or her up for the elements if possible. There are booties available for dogs, and sweaters that can help a pet’s body stay warm. Remember that dogs with thin fur or especially short coats will have less protection from the cold.


Antifreeze is very toxic to pets, and it has a sweet taste that is likely to attract them. Small amounts can be very poisonous—take your pet to your local veterinary hospital immediately if antifreeze has been ingested or you see any unusual symptoms.

Make sure your car isn’t leaking antifreeze, and clean up any spills immediately to avoid any exposure to this toxic chemical.

Hiding Under Cars

Cats are fond of hiding under cars—and in some cases inside the engine compartment—to escape the harsh wind and biting cold. This can spell disaster if the driver is unaware of the cat’s presence. It’s a good idea to bang sharply on your car’s hood before starting it up, especially if there are a lot of roaming cats in your area.

Frozen Water Dishes

If your pet stays outside for longer periods in the cold, frostbite isn’t the only risk—water bowls can freeze, leaving your pet without fresh water to drink. Dehydration is just as much of a risk in the winter as any other season. Make sure your pet’s water dish hasn’t frozen over, and bring your pet in periodically to let him or her warm up.

Call your Central Indianapolis veterinarian for more advice on helping your pet stay safe during the frigid winter season.


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