Keeping Your Pets Safe in Cold Weather

A brown and white dog sits in snow

Keeping Your Pets Safe in Cold Weather

As winter arrives and colder weather sets in pet owners face the challenge of ensuring their furry companions remain happy, healthy, and safe in the colder months. While some pets may revel in the winter wonderland, others might be less enthused about the dropping temperatures. In this blog, we’ll explore ways to keep your pets entertained, offer enrichment ideas for those chilly days when outdoor walks seem impossible, and discuss essential tips for keeping your pets safe in cold weather.


Ways to Provide Enrichment Indoors


  • Interactive Toys: Invest in interactive toys that dispense treats or challenge your pet’s problem-solving skills. Puzzle feeders and toys not only provide mental stimulation but also keep your pet engaged for extended periods.  Mental stimulation has been shown to be even more effective than exercise for enrichment.

  • Hide and Seek: Engage your pet in a game of hide and seek. Hide treats or toys around the house, encouraging your pet to use their keen sense of smell and natural instincts to find hidden treasures.  You can also use a puzzle mat, or even wet towels with kibble rolled up and then frozen.  Make sure to supervise your pets and avoid certain toys or fabrics if they tend to ingest things they are not supposed to.

  • Obstacle Course: Set up a mini indoor obstacle or agility course using everyday household items. This can be as simple as arranging cushions for your cat to jump over or creating a tunnel with blankets for your dog to navigate through.  Hiding treats and rewards throughout to keep them engaged and entertained.
  • DIY Treats: Channel your inner chef and whip up some homemade pet treats. There are countless recipes online for pet-friendly snacks that are easy to make and offer a tasty reward for your pet’s good behavior.  Or prepare kong filled with peanut butter or canned food to freeze so it will last them a long time.
  • Sensory Activities: Engage your pet’s senses with sensory activities. For cats, consider introducing new textures like soft fabrics or crinkly materials.  Dogs often also enjoy different types of toys to play with and may enjoy a variety of scents, so scatter a few treats around the room for them to discover.  As always make sure any toys are safe for their teeth!
  • DIY Catnip Toys: For our feline friends, create homemade catnip toys by stuffing old socks or fabric scraps with catnip. These toys can provide hours of entertainment and are an excellent way to satisfy your cat’s natural hunting instincts.
  • Training: A lot of our pets have some training they could always brush up on, or even some new tricks to learn.  Being stuck indoors in the cold is the perfect time to work on some training so your pet is ready to safely enjoy the warmer months.  Even just teaching some fun new tricks will keep them mentally engaged.


Outdoor Safety Tips

  1.  Warmth is Key: Just like humans, pets can get chilly. Ensure your pet is adequately dressed for the weather with a cozy sweater or jacket. For dogs with shorter fur, consider investing in booties to protect their paws from the cold ground.
  2. Limit Outdoor Time: While some pets may revel in the snow, it’s crucial to limit their time outdoors in extremely cold temperatures. Frostbite and hypothermia are real risks, so monitor your pet closely and bring them inside if they start showing signs of discomfort.
  3. Check for Ice-Melting Chemicals: Be cautious of ice-melting chemicals, which can be harmful to your pet’s paws. Wipe their paws with a damp cloth after outdoor walks to remove any residue, and consider using pet-friendly ice melts on your own property.
  4. Provide Shelter: If your pet spends time outdoors, ensure they have access to shelter from the wind and cold. A well-insulated doghouse or a cozy sheltered area for cats are recommended for any pets that spend time outdoors in the cold.


Keeping Pets Safe in Cold Weather in Milwaukee


As the winter season unfolds, pet owners have the responsibility to adapt and ensure our pets remain happy, healthy, and safe. By incorporating indoor entertainment and enrichment activities, you can keep your pets mentally stimulated even when the weather discourages outdoor excursions. Additionally, following safety tips for outdoor adventures ensures that your pets can enjoy the winter without risking their well-being. Remember, a little extra care and attention go a long way in making this winter a joyous and safe season for your beloved pets.


If you haven’t already, don’t forget to book your pet’s annual dental cleaning before the end of the year!


Photo by Elina Volkova from Pexels