We’re getting cooler temperatures around Cape Carteret already, even though the winter officially begins December 21. As the temperatures drop, keep these tips in mind to protect your furry companions 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 mindful 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.

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 the ice—you never know where weak spots could be, no matter how solid you think it is.

Keep pets 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 out 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.

Remember: If it’s too cold for you, it’s probably too cold for your furry friend. If you have any questions or concerns about keeping your pet safe this winter, contact us.