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Tips for Walking Cats & Dogs in the Winter


Your pet may not be complaining about the cold, and is probably even having a blast playing in the snow, but just like us, animals do not always notice that their skin has started to feel funny. As the bodyís temperature decreases in response to the outdoor temperature, blood is diverted to the core systems, leaving the outer organ, the skin, at risk of freezing. Once the skin has been frozen by the ice and snow, there is tissue damage, basically causing a condition akin to burning. At highest risk for frostbite are the footpads, nose, ear tips and tail.

Upon returning home after being outdoors for an extended time, or when the temperatures are especially low, check your petís risk points (along with the rest of the body). Early symptoms of frostbite include pale, hard skin that remains very cold even after being inside. As the skin warms, it may swell and change to a red color.

Your pet may try to relieve the irritation by licking and chewing on the skin, in which case you will need to have the skin treated and covered immediately before permanent damage is done.

Never apply direct heat to the skin, water or otherwise. Only tepid to warm water should be used on the skin, and non-electric blankets to cover the animal. You may need to consult with a veterinarian to make sure that the condition is not severe.

In some cases of severe frostbite the tissue needs to be removed, or the limb removed before the dead tissue allows infection to set in.


Hopefully, this has educated you and not frightened you. These are just some of the ways you can protect your pet, so that you do not need to worry yourself over anything, and so that you and your pet can have a great time in the snow and on the ice.

Should I Keep My Cat Indoors?
How to Keep Pets Warm in Winter
14 Tips For Using Less Heat This Season

Winter Walking Dangers for Cats and Dogs originally appeared on

Read more: Cats, Dogs, Everyday Pet Care, Pet Health, Pets, Remedies & Treatments, Safety, , , , ,

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Nicolas, selected from petMD

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+ add your own
4:31PM PST on Dec 26, 2013

Thanks for Sharing.

7:09PM PST on Feb 7, 2013

thanks so much. Never even considered some of these

8:17AM PST on Jan 17, 2013

Thank you for sharing.

10:46PM PST on Nov 25, 2012

Thanks for this useful information, and thanks, too, to Blair for informing us about a previously unknown-to-me danger.

2:56PM PST on Nov 25, 2012

thanks for sharing :)

7:10PM PST on Nov 20, 2012

Thanks for the information

12:56AM PST on Nov 16, 2012


8:19AM PST on Nov 14, 2012

Thanks our gov. it is no longer legal to spread salt on the streets. Chemicals, I have even never heard of that before? Here that must have been before I was born if that was the case... :) And spiling stuff on the ground is just irresponsible. For 3 years of having a car, I have only once accidentally spilled some petrol when filling the car and that is an area where you do NOT walk your dogs .... The petrol station!

12:46AM PST on Nov 14, 2012

Really good advice. It made me think that I should check my dogs paws after a walk even on good days, because there could be gravel etc on her paws.

2:31PM PST on Nov 13, 2012

thanks for the information

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

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