The winter is sure to dump mounds of snow and sheets of slippery ice on us—it’s important to keep our pet’s safety in mind during these storms. Below, a Cumberland County veterinarian advises you on winter storm safety for your cat or dog.

Bring Pets Indoors

The easiest way to keep your pets safe and happy during a winter storm, or during the winter months altogether, is to bring them indoors with you. Don’t leave a pet chained up outside in the freezing wind and blustery snow. Indoors, they’ll be warm and happy and you’ll know they’re safe from winter’s hazards.

Watch for Deep Snow

Dogs in particular may love frolicking in mounds of snow, happily throwing it about and digging holes. Beware, however, of especially deep snowdrifts. Even athletic dogs can wear themselves out trudging through it, potentially sinking in or exhausting themselves. Have your dog avoid deep snow, and help him out if he seems tired.

Watch for Icy Patches

For one, pets can slip on ice just like we can, resulting in overextended limbs, potential fractures, or torn ligaments. In addition, ice might have road salt or chemical de-icers on it, which a pet might lick off his paws later. Don’t let your pet go near icy patches.

Look for Signs of Hypothermia

Signs of hypothermia, or extremely low body temperature, include weakness, shivering, low blood pressure, stupor, slow or difficult breathing, and a fixed gaze. If left untreated, your pet will eventually slip into a coma. If you see your pet exhibiting any of the above symptoms, move him to a warmer area immediately and call your Cumberland County veterinarian’s office.

Wipe Down

It’s best to only take your pet outdoors during a winter storm for a quick exercise session or to use the bathroom. Every time he comes indoors, wipe down the paws, limbs, and body with a soft towel. This will remove any ice, snow, salt, and chemicals from the fur. Then, you’re free to cozy up with your pet next to the fire!