12 Winter Safety Tips to Keep Your Pets Healthy and Happy

| January 18, 2024

TORONTO, ON. – January 18, 2024 – As winter settles in, Toronto Humane Society urges pet guardians to take proactive measures to ensure the well-being of their furry companions during the cold months ahead. With the season’s unique challenges, the following 12 winter safety tips have been compiled to help pet parents safeguard their pets from the harsh effects of winter weather.

1. Know the Signs of Hypothermia and Frostbite:
Pets can suffer from hypothermia and frostbite just like humans. Look out for symptoms such as shivering, lethargy, whining, seeming anxious, weakness, or stopping moving. Frostbite can appear as pale cold skin which can become painful and swollen. If you suspect your pet is experiencing these conditions, contact your veterinarian immediately.

2. Make Paw Cleaning a Habit:
Clean your pet’s paws after walks to remove snow, ice, and harmful chemicals like ice salt. Check for chapped paws and itchy, flaking skin and consider adding a paw balm or Vaseline.

3. Don’t Leave Them in the Car:
Never leave your pet in the car during extreme cold weather. A vehicle can act like a freezer, trapping in cold air which can quickly endanger your pet.

4. Make Mealtime Fun:
Combat winter blues by introducing puzzle feeders and brain games into your pet’s routine, providing mental stimulation and preventing the winter slump.

5. Consider Paw Protectors & Jackets
Explore the use of paw protectors to shield your pet’s paws from the cold and salt. Balloon-type booties are often the most effective. Also, consider keeping your pet warm with a jacket!

6. Enroll in a Training Class:
Embrace the winter months with engaging training classes offered by Toronto Humane Society, either virtually or in person, to strengthen the bond between you and your pet.

7. Humidify Your Home:
Combat dry, cold air by humidifying your home to prevent chapped paws and itchy, flaking skin.

8. Collar and Microchip Your Pets:
Ensure your pet has a well-fitting collar with updated identification and consider a microchip for a more permanent means of identification.

9. Save Shorter Haircuts for The Summer:
Provide extra warmth for your pet during winter by avoiding shorter haircuts. Long-haired dogs may benefit from a quick trim to prevent snow and salt buildup.

10. Skip Bath Time:
Reduce the frequency of baths during the cold spells to retain essential oils for your pet’s skin. When necessary, use moisturizing shampoo.

11. Watch out for Antifreeze:
Keep antifreeze containers out of reach, as its sweet taste can be attractive to pets but is toxic if ingested. Consider using products containing propylene glycol instead.

12. If it’s too cold for you, it’s too cold for your pet:
The best way to gauge your pet’s comfort in the cold is to spend time with them outside. Look for signs of discomfort, such as shivering, running towards and standing by the door, wanting to be held, or losing interest in things they normally get excited about outside.

If it is too cold for you, it is probably too cold for your pets to be left outside, so keep them inside.

“These tips are essential for ensuring your pets remain safe and comfortable during the winter months. By following these guidelines, you’ll be providing the best possible care for your furry family members,” explains Dr. Karen Ward, Chief Veterinary Officer at Toronto Humane Society.

About Toronto Humane Society

Toronto Humane Society’s mission is to improve the lives of animals. The organization excels in all ways an animal shelter should, with industry-leading shelter care, veterinary services, animal training and behaviour consultations. Toronto Humane Society believes in the importance of the human-animal bond, finds new homes for thousands of animals and helps keep families together.

Toronto Humane Society is more than an animal shelter. They are an educational resource and support system, a leading voice in animal welfare and accessible care. The organization is also a centre of excellence, a space where best practices and boundary-pushing knowledge meet with unyielding optimism and a love for animals to create something special. Toronto Humane Society is like no other. For more information, visit www.torontohumanesociety.com.

For more information, or to arrange an interview please contact Lucas Solowey at communications@torontohumanesociety.com or call 416-392-2273 ext. 2196