Expert Tips on How to Protect Your Pet from the Bitter Cold

As temperatures drop, it's not only important to protect ourselves but also our pets from the bitter cold.

Yes, our pets need protection, too. Just because they have fur coats doesn't guarantee their safety when it comes to the frigid temps in winter weather.

Chicago's Very Own WGN 9 recently published an article with tips on how to protect your pets during the winter months. Check out some of those tips below:

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Protect Those Paws

To reduce the risk of your pet getting chapped paws, pick up some booties or rub some petroleum jelly onto their paw pads. This will protect your dog's feet from sharp ice chunks and salt!

Take Short Walks

Dr. Donna Alexander of the Cook County Department of Animal & Rabies Control says walks and time outdoors in cold weather should be limited to 10 minutes or less. Despite having fur coats, your pet's nose, ears, and paws are at risk of frostbite. Hypothermia is also a concern if your dog is outside for long periods in the wind chill.

Keep Outdoor Cats Inside

According to the Humane Societyoutdoor cats should not be left out in freezing temperatures at all.

cat in snow

Wash Up After Going Outside

If you live in a city, there will likely be salt on the roads and sidewalks in the winter season, which can irritate your pet's footpads and pose a poisoning risk if the salt is licked off. Remove salt by wetting a towel with warm (not hot) water and wiping off your pet's feet and stomach. Dry your dog off with another towel so the wet hair doesn't give it the chills.

No Haircuts

Your pet's winter coat is pretty good at keeping them warm, so hold off on the new hairdo until the spring. Long hair may get scraggly in the winter, but it's keeping your dog warm!

No Baths

No haircuts and no baths! Your pet will be very pleased. Cutting back on baths helps your pet's skin retain essential oils that keeps it from drying out.

dog in snow

Give Them More Food

Your pet's body (like your own) burns extra energy in the winter to keep warm. Therefore, it's good to give them a little extra food.

Don't Leave Them in the Car

Just like in the summer, it's not a good idea to leave any pet in any car for an extended period of time - especially during the months when temps can reach extremes.

Bundle Up

For short-haired dogs, bundle them up in a sweater or some other garment to retain body heat in winter conditions. Same goes for small dogs and hairless dog breeds.

dog with sweater


Some other important tips include keeping the water bowl from freezing if its outside; make sure your pet always has access to fresh, unfrozen water. A heated water bowl should do the trick if your dog is outdoors. If you have an arthritic dog, it may be a good idea to put a hot water bottle and some old blankets on the dog bed to help keep its joints warm.

Okay, now we don't want to deprive your pet of a snowy adventure, as it's no secret that animals love the snow. However, when temperatures drop and turn that winter wonderland into a cold winter freezer, it's important to know how to keep all of your pets safe.

Have any other tips to share to protect pets in cold temperatures? Let us know in the comments!

WATCH NOW: Keep Your Dogs Warm This Winter!