Looking After Your Pet in Winter Weather

by Angela Hickey | 1 min read   January 14th, 2019

Throughout winter it’s especially important to consider your pets’ needs. These helpful tips can help to keep your pets healthy and happy in the colder temperatures.


Keep Pets Indoors

Cats and dogs will appreciate being indoors with the rest of the family in cold, wet weather. This is also the safest place for them to be. Cats should be kept entirely indoors during severe weather, so have litter trays ready and available.

If your dog is a thick coated breed and used to sleeping outdoors, make sure their kennel is placed inside a garage or shed and raised off the ground. Old carpet or quilts around the outside add extra insulation and lots of dry, soft bedding to burrow into will help keep them warm. Make sure to check regularly that their water bowl hasn’t frozen over. It's best to take them in the house in sub zero conditions.

Winter Walks

On walks, consider a dog sweater or coat to keep your pet warm and dry and a high visibility coat and reflective collar to help keep them safe in the dark evenings. After a walk, remove any compacted ice from your dog’s paws to prevent inflammation. Wipe pets’ paws and bellies with a cloth soaked in warm water to remove salt or antifreeze. Anti freeze is highly toxic but tastes sweet, so keep pets well away from spills. Elderly, very young, and short-coated breeds are extra vulnerable to the cold so try to limit the time they spend outside, especially in the snow.

In snowy weather, dogs can easily lose their scent and get lost. Keeping them on a lead can help. Avoid frozen ponds or lakes where they may fall through thin ice. Also, be aware that thunderstorms or high winds may spook them; microchipping your pet and having them wear identity tags at all times will be useful if they take off through an open door on accident.

Arthritic pets may not cope well with ice and may fall and get injured. They will need more warmth and rest, and may need extra medication in cold weather so check with your vet.


Always check under your car for cats seeking warm shelter before you start your car. Never leave your pet in a car in cold weather as it cools down very quickly and acts like a fridge.

If there’s a severe weather warning, stock up on enough medication, food, cat litter etc., to last a few days for each pet.

Following these tips can help ensure your pets’ comfort and safety this winter!


Information correct as of date of publishing. This blog will not be updated or edited so the information may become outdated.


Angela Hickey
Allianz in-house vet and qualified psychotherapist.