Sometimes we forget that cold weather can be just as hard for pets as it is for us. They’re just as accustomed to being nice and warm inside of your home as you and your family are! Not all animals are adapted to living outdoors, so leaving outside for extended periods of time can be harmful to them, putting them in danger of many things including serious illnesses.

As it starts to get colder, keep your pets inside as much as possible. A good rule of thumb for how long is too long to leave them outside is to go outside with them. Once you can’t bear the cold, neither can they, so bring them in when you’re cold enough to go inside yourself. If you have to leave them outside for extended periods of time, make sure they have a shelter to protect them from cold winds, plenty of water and a nice, thick bedding to keep them warm.

Even so, keeping pets indoors for the winter season also poses it’s risks. Pets are as attracted to warmth as you are and will easily curl up to a fireplace or space heater. Make sure that no paws or tails come in contact with any of the heating coils, flames or other hot surfaces this winter season. Pets can easily burn themselves or what’s worse, knock over a heat source and put your household in danger. Outdoor pets, such as cats, love curling up to warm things indoors as well as outdoors, so always check beneath your car to make sure a cat isn’t keeping warm against your engine before you start your car.

When your pets do go outside, they can easily pick up ice and chemical ice melts such as rock salt in their foot pads, so be sure to clean their paws off when you bring them inside to keep them from getting chapped and raw. Make sure to also clean up spills from your vehicle as antifreeze is a lethal poison for our pets. When playing with your pet outside, make sure to never let your dog off the leash in the snow, as they can easily lose their scent and become lost– after all, more dogs are lost during the winter than during any other season.

Winter poses threats to many of us as well as our pets, so remember some of these tips to help your pets get through the winter safely!