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While the weather in New York has already felt frightful, the winter season officially begins December 21. As the temperatures drop, keep these tips in mind to protect your pet from the cold:


Groom properly

During the winter months, let your pet’s fur coat stay on the longer side to help keep her warm. But, trim the fur around her feet shorter to prevent snow and ice from building up there.

Be cognizant of chemicals

A small amount of antifreeze can be deadly if your pup licks up the sweet-tasting chemical, and products used to melt ice on sidewalks and driveways can be dangerous, too. Always use pet-safe ice melts, and be sure to wipe your dog’s paws off after she comes inside.

Keep them warm

Most pets aren’t fans of wearing clothes, but some—especially small and short-haired breeds—will do best on winter walks if they’re wearing a sweater or coat. And, when the snow and ice pile up outside, booties can make all the difference. Think you’ve been outside too long with your pet? Watch for signs of frostbite, including:

    • Pale, gray, or blue skin (early)
    • Red, puffy skin (after frostbite has progressed)
    • Pain in the ears, paws, or tail when touched
    • Skin that stays cold
    • Shriveled skin

And, a pet suffering from hypothermia may exhibit: 

    • Violent shivering
    • Lethargy
    • Muscle stiffness
    • Difficulty breathing
    • Rectal temperature below 98° F

Once hypothermia advances, coma and cardiac arrest are possible.

Avoid winter accidents

If you have to walk your pet early in the morning or after dark when you get home from work, be sure you’re both visible to vehicles and other pedestrians. Use a reflective harness, collar, or leash, and wear a reflective coat and a headlamp to increase visibility. Also, never let your pet venture onto ice—you never know where weak spots could be, no matter how solid you think it is.


Your pet has a natural fur coat, but that doesn’t mean they can endure lengthy walks or backyard romps during frigid temperatures. If it’s too cold for you, it’s probably too cold for your furry friend.  If you have any questions about keeping your pets safe from the cold, please contact our office.