The fireplace crackles on a cold winter night while you sit in front of it with a hot drink and your furry friends. Dogs, cats, and other pets enjoy gathering around a warm fireplace just as much as you. Older pets especially, because the warmth helps their aging bones that get sore during the winter.

But like humans, the winter months can cause problems for our animals. They’re also at risk of getting sick or injured from the winter issues that arise.

How to Protect Your Pets

The best way to keep your pets safe is to simply let them inside. If you have other animals or livestock, move them to sheltered areas and give them access to non-frozen water and food. For these outdoor animals, make sure that snowdrifts, ice, and other hazards don’t block them from food and water.

If you’re bringing pets in and out of the cold their skin may get irritated. This can be prevented by bringing a towel with you anytime you go for a walk to dry pets off, and by keeping the home humid.

Never shave the hair off your pets during the winter. Their fur brings additional warmth. But do maintain their hair trimmed, so ice, salt crystals, and other deicing chemicals don’t get tangled in their hair.

After every walk it’s best to clean your pet’s paws and in between their toes. You can even start walks by rubbing petroleum jelly on paws beforehand. This prevents dangerous deicing chemicals from getting on paws, and then later being licked off by your pet. These chemicals are dangerous and can cause sickness and injury. Antifreeze is also deadly. Clean any spill and don’t let pets come in contact with it.

When it’s cold outside the stainless steel bowls that are used for pet food can get so cold that their tongues can stick to the metal. Make sure that eating utensils, water and food aren’t frozen.

Quick Tips:

  • Keep your pets indoors and warm.
  • Keep your pets on a leash.
  • Consider a coat or a sweater for pets.
  • Never leave your pets in a car.
  • Clean your pet’s paws after going outside.
  • Be careful around frozen lakes and streams.
  • Provide plenty of food and water. Pets can become dehydrated in the winter.
  • If you have to leave your pets outside, make sure the space is dry and well-insulated.

    Avoiding Fireplace Dangers

    Pets will want to congregate around the fireplace just as much as you do. But their tails, paws, long ears and fur are at risk. Puppies and kittens especially may not know the dangers that are posed by a fireplace.

Be conscious of sparks that may fly from the fireplace and place a screen in front of it to avoid dangers. The best way to protect your pets is by never leaving them alone around a fire. Even if there’s screen doors in place, pets can still be burned by simply coming into contact with these hot surfaces.

Keep your fireplace tools behind a hearth barrier, so animals can’t knock them over and be injured. Pets can even be burned by simply touching hot screen surfaces. Remember to never play around the fire.

Lastly, for your own personal safety and that of your animals, keep the damper open while a fire is lit. This will keep you from accidentally causing a dangerous CO poisoning situation. But you should have CO and smoke detectors installed.

When it comes to pets, take the same safety measures that you’d take for yourself. If you’re cold, they probably are too. Keep them from sleeping next to cold air and drifts, and remember that they at just as much risk for frostbite or hypothermia as you. Exposed paws and noses can freeze in the cold quickly, and that can damage a bet permanently. Treat your furry friends like you’d like to be treated this winter.