How to Keep Pets Healthy During the Holidays and Winter Season

cold weather pet care

Pets are family members in many homes. To make sure they enjoy the holiday season as much as we do, review four ways to keep pets healthy and safe.

  1. Keep pets warm and dry
    • Wipe feet – Remove frozen particles of snow and ice from feet. If they’ve walked on streets or sidewalks where there’s salt, rinse paws to prevent skin irritation.
    • Maintain warmth – Fit small or short-haired dogs with a sweater or coat to help keep them warm.
    • Provide shelter – If pets must be kept outside, set up a shelter with thick bedding to protect them from cold temperatures. Make sure they have access to food and water that’s not frozen; change the water frequently or purchase a heated water dish.
    • Watch for health issues – Pets that spend time outdoors can get frostbite or hypothermia. If your pet becomes anxious, listless, shaky or weak, contact your veterinarian.
  2. Observe snow safety tips
    • Reduce risks – Keep pets inside when using a shovel or snow blower,. Some dogs like to chase the flying snow and can get hurt if they get in the way.
    • Wipe up antifreeze – Cars often leak this sweet-smelling liquid in wintry weather, but it’s lethal for animals.
    • Help older pets – Older pets with arthritic or stiff joints can slip and fall in the snow and ice. Keep the pace slow and help older pets navigate slick patches.
  3. Prevent decorating hazards
    • Christmas trees – Set up the tree in a corner and make sure it’s secure and won’t tip over onto your pet. If using a live tree, don’t add chemicals to the water in case your pet decides to drink from the tree stand.
    • Lights – Pets can get an electrical shock if they bite into a light cord. So hang lights at a height that your pets can’t reach.
    • Festive plants – Many holiday plants, such as mistletoe, amaryllis and poinsettias, are toxic to pets if they are ingested. Keep those out of reach!
    • Candles and potpourris – While they make the house smell great, candles and potpourri can be a health hazard for pets.
  4. Keep people-food away from pets
    • Avoid sharing table scraps – Foods containing onions, grapes and raisins can be poisonous to pets. If pets eat turkey or turkey skin, they can develop pancreatitis, a life-threatening condition.
    • Chocolate and are sweets off limits – Many types of chocolate and baked goods made with sweeteners can be toxic to pets and may even cause death.

American Veterinary Medical Association

Leave a comment