Five Ways to Keep Your Pet Safe in the Winter

Here in Michigan, the snow is finally starting to fall and temperatures have gotten lower. The snowy weather may be beautiful to look at for us humans, but we also need to remember our furry companions may need extra care during the winter months. From icy pavements to freezing temperatures, Michigan's winter can pose unique challenges for pets. In this blog post, we'll explore practical tips on how to protect your pets and keep them safe, happy, and warm during the chilly Michigan winter.


#1 - Monitor Outdoor Time

Many pets may enjoy running and playing in the snow but it's crucial to monitor their time outdoors, especially during extremely cold weather. Limit outdoor activities and be mindful of signs of discomfort such as shivering, whining, or lifting their paws. If it's too cold for you, it's probably too cold for them. Smaller breeds or dogs with short hair can start feeling cold at temperatures under 45 degrees Fahrenheit. Larger dogs can handle slightly colder temperatures but could have discomfort with outdoor temperatures under 25 degrees Fahrenheit. Keep to a time limit of 15-20 minutes for a winter outdoor walk. 

#2 - Paw Care

Michigan winters often mean icy sidewalks and road salt, which can be harsh on your pet's paws. Invest in pet-friendly booties or paw wax to protect their feet from cold surfaces and prevent irritation from salt. If your pet will not wear booties try your best to avoid salted walkways and make sure to wipe your pet's paws with a damp cloth to remove any salt or ice-melting chemicals after a walk. Chemicals in de-icing products can be harmful to a pet so make sure to clean the paws after every outdoor trip. 


#3 - Dress for the Occasion 
French Bulldog MiaMia stays warm in her sweater.

Similar to humans, our beloved pets can greatly benefit from winter attire to stay comfortable during chilly weather. It's worth investing in a cozy and waterproof pet jacket, pet sweatshirt, or sweater to ensure your furry companion remains warm and content during outdoor walks. This is especially important for smaller dogs and dogs with thinner fur. The added layer of warmth and protection will make a big difference. When selecting the clothing, pay attention to the fit – it should be snug enough to provide insulation without restricting their movement. Opt for attire that adequately covers their body, providing them with the necessary protection against the cold elements. By investing in the right winter gear, you not only enhance your pet's comfort but also contribute to their overall well-being during the colder months.


#4 - Maintain a Regular Exercise Routine

Keeping your pet active during the winter is important for their physical and mental well-being. If outdoor activities are limited, consider engaging in indoor exercises or interactive play to ensure they get the exercise they need. Cascade Hospital for Animals has a great doggie daycare program that could be the right fit for your dog this winter. They can play, exercise, and get lots of love from our staff. Our facility features a spacious heated indoor area for activities during chilly weather, along with an outdoor space for winter enjoyment when temperatures are deemed safe. Reach out today if you would like to know more about doggie daycare!

Ada and BerryAda and Berry enjoying some snowy playtime in our doggie daycare yard.


#5 - Regular Veterinary Clinic Check-ups

Winter is a good time to schedule a veterinary check-up to ensure your pet is in good health for the season. Make sure to stay up on vaccinations year-round, but especially in the winter when respiratory infections and other illnesses are more common. Discuss any concerns you may have about their well-being in colder weather and get advice on nutrition and any necessary adjustments to their care routine. You can contact us via our online form or by calling 616-949-0960. 

 By taking these precautions, you can help your pets not only endure but enjoy the winter months in Michigan. If it’s too cold outside for you, it is too cold for your pets. A little extra care and attention go a long way in ensuring your furry companions stay safe, warm, and happy as they navigate the winter wonderland together with you.