Animal Clinic of Warren, PA.

162 Washington Valley Road Ext
Warren, NJ 07059


Winter Pet Care Tips 


Your dog may not understand why their daily routines may change drastically and their walks may decrease. Weather is not a concern for most dogs they still enjoy long walks on a chilly evening. However, walks should be shortened to 10 minutes, even that may be too long when the temperature falls below freezing. Put some sort of reflective collar or coat on your dog while out walking on the shortened daylight days of winter. Never allow your dog to walk on what appears to be a frozen lake or pond. Cats should be kept indoors.


Outdoor/Indoor Housing

It is best to keep pets indoors during the winter months, but if this is not possible, outdoor pets must be provided with shelter.  Their home should be elevated off the ground to prevent moisture accumulation and have a door of some kind to keep out winter winds. The door should face away from the wind ? usually south. Shelters should be insulated or heated.  The house should not be more than three times the size of the pet. Avoid blankets or straw. Use cedar shavings for bedding and change them frequently. DO NOT USE blankets as they can get wet and freeze.

Indoor pets should have sleeping quarters in a draft free warm area with their bed or mattress elevated slightly off the floor. If you need to keep your outdoor pet in the garage overnight during severe weather please be sure all chemical, herbicides, insecticides or any other poisonous substances are out of reach and/or can?t be knocked over. Keep your pets a safe distance from woodstoves, fireplaces or other heat sources. Cats can jump on woodstoves or heater and burn their paws.




Water and Food

Your pet is just as likely to get dehydrated in winter as in the summer.  Prevent dehydration by making sure your pet?s water source is kept unfrozen. Thermal units designed specifically for this purpose are readily available at most pet stores. A non-metal water dish should be used so that your pet?s tongue will not stick to the dish.  SNOW IS NOT A SUBSTITUTE for water. DO NOT allow your pet to eat or lick snow. It may cause a digestive disorder. Outdoor pets require extra calories to keep warm. Feed your pet according to its needs when the temperature drops. Indoor pets don?t need their diets adjusted. Use dark colored plastic bowls as they will retain the heat better.

Body and Feet

Towel or blow dry your dog?s entire body if it gets wet from rain or snow. Your pets coat will need daily brushing to ensure he/she is well insulated. Dogs with short or coarse hair may need a sweater or coat when they go on their walks as they get cold easily. Frostbitten skin is red or grey and may slough. If your pet?s skin looks like this please call our office for instructions.
Your pets feet need special attention after being outside you should check your dogs paws remove snow and ice immediately. It is important to check your dogs foot pads because rock salt, used to melt ice and snow may irritate the pads. Wash them with warm water and dry well. This will also allow you to check for any tiny cut/cracks on the pads caused by uneven icy surfaces.  Always keep your pet on a leash or provide them with booties. If there are any cracks or cuts on the feet consult us for further instructions. Dogs toe nails tend to grow longer during the winter months, because the hard surfaces that act like a nail file are usually snow covered. Clip your dog?s nails regularly, shorter nails allow for better traction on icy surfaces.









On warm winter days take your dog to a dog park if possible to socialize with other dogs. Remember ? a dog park is not a controlled situation. If you drive up and see dog?s acting aggressively leave and return at another time. You may want to consider an obedience training class. These classes can be mentally and physically stimulating for both you and your dog in an indoor environment.

Adjust your dogs and cats caloric intake according to their activity level. Dogs and cats that are less active in the winter need fewer calories.

If you cannot take your dog for a walk during the winter months, consider hiring a dog walker/pet sitter or even a neighbor that likes cold weather may be happy to help. Cats need exercise too during this time of year ? especially cats that are used to going outdoors. Several types of toys that require exercise are available from pet stores.  As with all new toys it is important that you supervise your cat at place to be sure he/she will be safe.

Remember it is up to you to make sure your pets get enough exercise and stimulation to get them through the ?long? winter months.


Bang on your car or honk the horn. Cats as well as some wildlife may curl up into the wheel wells and engine compartments to keep warm and they could get trapped. Never leave your pet in the car alone for even a short time. DO NOT LEAVE your pet in the car with the engine running as the carbon monoxide will endanger your pet?s life. If the engine is turned off the temperature will drop quickly and a possible fatality may occur.








Antifreeze deserves special mention due to the toxicity of it.  A very small amount can quickly become fatal to pets.

  Keep it stored properly!