Tips: Keep Your Pet Comfortable During the Chilly Winter

Updated: 01/18/2013 2:59 PM By: Leslie Dyste

As you bundle up to head outside during winter, don't forget about about 'Fido' and 'Fluffy.' spoke with Dr. Kristi Flynn with the U of M Veterinary Medical Center about ways to keep your pets safe and comfortable during Minnesota winters.

Salt on Sidewalks and Roadways

While salt is not toxic to dogs, it can be very uncomfortable. Flynn says dogs can get a 'thermal burn feeling.'

Luckily, it won't do long-term damage. The uncomfortable feeling will stop after the salt is washed off of your pup's paws.

There are 'pet safe' salt products that may be less irritating.

Flynn says a pair of dog booties are your dog's best defense against the salt. She says fleece are fine to wear out in the snow, and there are also some 'non-slip' options.

If pets eat the salt, or lick their paws- there's not really a cause for concern. Flynn says the small amount of salt won't harm their health.


Hypothermia is a concern for pets, especially in smaller breeds. Flynn recommends staying with your dog when they go outside, to make sure you remember to let them in.

Flynn says often a tragedy is caused due to miscommunication between family members on who is letting the pet back inside.

Sweaters and Jackets

Sweaters and jackets are a good option to keep your pet comfortable, especially in short-haired breeds.

The clothing can help keep the core of your dog warmer. Flynn recommends making the sweater or jacket a positive experience by giving your pup treats while they're wearing it.

Cat Concerns

Cat owners will want to keep a close-eye on their pets as the temperatures drop.

Flynn says cats often wanted in neighbor's garages to keep warm. They can also find themselves in trouble when they crawl into the hood of a car to stay warm.

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