AVMA offers advice to help pet owners protect pets from winter weather

As the winter months bring freezing temperatures and mountains of snow, the AVMA is doing its part to make sure that pet owners know how to protect their furry companions from the weather.

Douglas G. Aspros, DVM, AVMA immediate past president, took to the organization's podcast recently to share his tips for pet owners, which animal hospitals can also share with their clients.

Here are seven tips that Aspros shared during the podcast:

  1. During the interview, Aspros first advised pet owners to bring cold pets inside and keep them in a warm part of the house. Some pet owners mistakenly assume that fur is adequate protection against freezing temperatures and brisk wind, Aspros said.
  2. Try to keep pets' paws protected from rough, icy surfaces. According to Aspros, paws can sustain cuts or abrasions from icy surfaces or the icy crust that forms on top of snow. Additionally, ice can contain embedded objects that can damage paws, he said. Aspros also recommended that owners remove ice chunks or salt that can accumulate on pets' paws after they spend time in snowy and icy conditions.
  3. If an animal will be spending time outside during cold weather, Aspros said its outdoor housing should be kept as warm as possible. This includes providing insulated and windproof housing, along with warm materials such as blankets, towels, straw, and hay.
  4. Try to keep pets away from areas where they might not have adequate traction, such as slippery staircases and frozen bodies of water. Poor traction can put animals at risk for injury, Aspros said.
  5. Make sure pets have access to thawed drinking water at all times. Aspros suggested the heated water bottle as a product that can constantly provide accessible drinking water.
  6. Make sure your car is clear of cats or other animals before starting it, as animals will sometimes climb on engines to stay warm.
  7. Cold weather can indirectly lead some pets to gain unhealthy weight because their owners are less likely to take them outside for exercise. Be sure to keep pets active even if the weather outside is not welcoming.

More information

Listen to the AVMA podcast to hear the full interview with Aspros.