Tucked as we are in this temperate corner of Southeastern Virginia, we don’t face freezing weather too often. On the occasions we do get snow and ice, we need to make sure our pets can go outside to stretch their legs, take a walk and do their business without harm. To help you and your companions stay safe and warm, we’ve compiled these tips to help you care for your pets when the weather is frightful.

  • When walking your pet, avoid surfaces treated with toxic chemical ice-melting agents. Have them wear protective booties, or wash and dry their feet and stomach after each walk to remove ice, salt and harmful chemicals.
  • Did you know that more pets become lost in the winter than any other season? Snowfall can disguise recognizable scents that would normally help them find their way home. Avoid this scenario by keeping your pet leashed.
  • When snow is forecast, but before it starts falling, spread a small tarp in your yard to catch the precipitation. When it’s time for your dog to “go,” remove the tarp and voila! They can go in the grass, and you can see to pick it up.
  • Check your car before leaving your home. Cats often seek out the warmth of wheel wells of just-driven cars during the winter. Let them know you’re there, by knocking on the hood or beeping the car horn before starting your vehicle.
  • Washing your pet too often can remove essential oils and increase the chance of developing dry, flaky skin. Keep baths to a minimum during cold weather.
  • If it’s too cold for you to be out for an extended period of time, it’s too cold for your pet. Stay in and stay safe.
  • Finally, all pets should have a cozy, warm place to sleep indoors—never outside. Make sure their bed is off the floor and away from drafts.

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