Many people believe that because their pets have a coat of fur they are able to withstand the cold better than humans. This is not the case. Like us, animals are accustomed to the warmth of indoor shelter and cold weather can as hard on them as it is on people. Forcing animals to be outside during harsh weather can lead to serious illness.


  • If you use a space heater or light a fire, watch your pets closely. They are as attracted to the warmth as you are, so make sure their tails or paws do not come in contact with flames, heating coils, or hot surfaces that can cause severe burns. Also, if a pet knocks over a heating source, the entire house is in danger of catching on fire.
  • Have your furnace checked for carbon monoxide leakage before you turn it on, both for your safety and your pets’. Carbon monoxide is odorless and invisible, but it can cause problems ranging from headaches and fatigue to trouble breathing and even death.
  • Provide your pet with a thick, soft bed in a warm room on chilly nights.

Long-haired breeds like Huskies do better in cold weather than short-haired breeds like Dachshunds. Cats and small dogs that must wade shoulder-deep in snow will feel cold sooner than larger animals.

If your dog will tolerate them, consider equipping them with special booties that protect their paws from cold, chemicals, and salt. Booties will also keep your dog from licking the salt off its feet, which can cause inflammation of the digestive track. Also, if your dog will tolerate a sweater, use it to provide added warmth, remembering however, that pets lose most of their body heat through the pads of their feet, their ears, and their respiratory tract.