All Pets Veterinary Clinic


Winter months in Illinois mean colder temperatures. While we can easily throw on some
extra clothing to protect ourselves, we must no neglect that our pets need some
extra care during the colder months. This article will discuss some practical tips
for winter weather.

1. For animals that are outside all of the time, be sure to provide adequate shelter.
Consider hanging some kind of door on open dog houses so that your pets can escape the
cold wind. Bed dog houses deeply with blankets, straw, etc. Be sure to check bedding
frequently and change as needed if bedding becomes soiled or wet.

2. Be sure to provide a fresh water supply for outdoor animals. Check water bowls
frequently since they will often freeze and leave no water available for drinking. If
this is not possible, consider the use of a heated water bowl.

3. Be sure to keep food available for animals kept outside. In cold weather, animals
that are outside will need to consume more food than they would in warmer temperatures.

4. Keep animals away from antifreeze. Repair leaky radiators. Store antifreeze in a
place where animals will not be present. Due to its sweet taste, antifreeze is often
readily consumed by animals that find it. Even a small amount of antifreeze can be
fatal for dogs and cats.

5. For animals who spend most of the time inside, donít leave them outside for too
long. Since many animals are kept inside they are not conditioned to being outside
in bitter cold weather for long periods of time.

6. If you bathe your animal at home, be sure they are completely dry before letting
them outside. Even if they are a little damp, they should not be allowed to go outside
in cold temperatures.

7. Watch very young and very old dogs carefully when outside. The stress of being
left outside in the cold for too long can be even greater on a very young animal or a
very old animal.

8. For pets with long hair between their toes, make sure that ice, snow, and road salt are
cleaned promptly from the feet. Trimming the hair back can decrease the amount of debris
that becomes trapped in the hair.

The information provided is for educational purposes only and is not
intended to take the place of your regular veterinarian. Please do not hesitate
to contact your regular veterinarian if you have questions regarding your pet.

Karen Blakeley, DVM, MPH
14 December 2002