Snowy Weather Tips

We're in the heart of winter and Richmond is predicted to get a good bit of snow today (well, good bit for the Richmond area).  While schools are cancelled, and work is closed, you may be enjoying your time with hot cocoa and a sled.  However, you must remember the furry creatures in your life.  Below, you will find some tips to keep your pets safe during this inclement weather.

  •  Bring your pet inside.
    • Saying your pet has shelter because it can go under the deck or in the screened in porch does NOT count.  Give your dog a well-insulated, heated space to stay warm and cozy.  
    • Limit outside time.  How long would you let a 5 year old child play in the snow?  Would you force your 5 year old outside for 8 hours without a chance to come in and warm up?  If the answer is no, then that should be the same for your pet.  Unless you're out with your pet then don't leave your pet outside.
  •  Provide some extra layers.
    • I know you may hate dressing up your pet, but if your pet has short hair he/she may need a sweater or a coat to feel comfortable going outside.  You can find a variety and any pet store.  Personally, I use a sweater for when the weather gets a little nippy and a big, heavy blanket (in the style of a horse blanket) for inclement weather.
    • Be careful with long-haired breeds.  While they will generally stay warmer, in snowy weather you do have to be mindful of snow clinging to their coat.  The prolonged exposure snow pressed right against their body could make them fairly cold.  If you're playing outside and snow starts to clump on your pet, it may be time to bring him/her inside.
    • As happy as Cody is, it may be time for him to come inside.

  • Consider boots.
    • This is especially important for younger dogs, older dogs, and dogs with sensitive feet.  Snow is cold.  Try holding it in your hand for an extended period of time.  Now try walking through it for an extended period of time.  You don't like it?  Neither does your dog.  Boots can help protect against those cold temperatures.  My favorites are the Ruffwear Polar Trex. The higher ankle of the boot will help to keep snow from falling in the booty and will keep those paws and ankles nice and warm.
  • Beware of salt.
    • The salt that is put on the roads and sidewalks is NOT safe for your pet.  It's actually a mix of chemicals and salt and is quite toxic if your pet ingests it.  There are some pet-safe ice melts on the market, so feel free to use those.  Another tip, though, is to just put some kitty litter on your sidewalk.  It provides traction, is safe for your pet, and won't destroy your walkway!
    • Boots may also be handy here.  Eating the salt isn't the only concern.  That salt can really wreak havoc on a dog's paws.  Allow your dog to wear a simple, water-resistant boot when walking on salty walkways.
  • Beware of ice.
    • This is yet another point where boots will come in handy.  Not only must you be careful of the slick surface of ice and the risk of injury, you must also watch out for sharp edges.  I hate to say this, but I speak from experience here.  Cody once cut both of his front paws by running on what I thought was packed snow.  Instead of snow, though, it was actually snow that had started to melt and refrozen leaving a sharp edge of ice.  He healed nicely, and we avoided a visit to the vet, but I still felt like a horrible dog mom for allowing him to run on such a surface.
The whole point here is not to scare you into not having fun with your pet during winter weather, but rather to take a few extra precautions so your fun isn't cut short or doesn't turn into disaster.   Have fun and be safe!

Here are two well-dressed dogs for the winter weather.  Cody has a sweater for extra warmth, while Lollie, who doesn't tolerate the cold as well has a heavier coat and boots. 


  1. Excellent tips. Really useful stuff .Never had an idea about this, will look for more of such informative posts from your side.. Good job...Keep it up
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  2. This is the perfect blog for anyone who wants to know about this topic. It contains truly information. Your website is very useful. I admire the valuable advice you make available in your expertly written content. I want to thank you for this informative read; I really appreciate sharing this great.
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  3. Great article and information!. This is the exact blog, I'm looking for because we are planning to have a vacation in America with our dog. The tips given here are very useful when we encounter a snowy weather there. I read some articles about vets minster and some of the information given there have the same tips on your blog. Thank you for sharing this with us.