Winter Pet Care Tips from IAMs

the three dogs sleeping

The three dogs sleeping

January means cold weather for anyone living in Canada. Characterized by subzero temperatures and blistering cold winds, we are always bundling up with jackets, scarves and gloves to keep warm, but what about our furry friends? January is one of Canada’s coldest months and like humans, pets need winter weather protection, too! This year here, in Ontario the weather  is a bit warmer than we are use to, but still cold and snowy.

The Iams family and the Ontario SPCA have put together some tips on winter pet care and we hope you find them helpful when it comes to your walks and time outside.

  • Check ups – Take your animals for a winter checkup before the cold kicks in. Your veterinarian can check to make sure they don’t have any medical problems that will make them more vulnerable to the cold.
  • Winter fashion isn’t just for humans – Just like we get dressed up to stay warm in the winter, some pets do, too! Try dressing your pet in a winter sweater, jacket or booties to keep them warm on winter walks. The outfits may not be fitting for every pet’s playful personality, but they certainly help keep them warm!
  • Take pet paw precautions – After taking your pet for a walk in the winter, be sure to wipe their paws and underside after being outside. Salt and other chemicals used to melt snow and ice on the roads and sidewalks can irritate and burn your pet’s sensitive paws. Soaking your pet’s paws in warm water before drying them off also helps remove chunks of snow and is soothing for their pads
  • Cars in the winter are like freezers – Never leave your cat or dog unattended in the car during the cold weather months. Cars act like refrigerators and freezers in the winter and could cause your pet to suffer from severe hypothermia.
  • Consider their coat in the cold – When the temperature drops below zero, pets should not be left outside for long periods of time, especially cats and short-coated dogs and puppies as they are particularly vulnerable to cold temperatures. If you have a cat or short-coated dog, only take them out for short walks and consider dressing them in sweaters to keep the heat in.
  • Hydration – Keep an eye on your pet’s water bowl. It’s easy not to realize that a water bowl has frozen and your furry friend might be unable to drink. Animals that don’t have access to clean, unfrozen water are more likely to drink out of puddles or gutters, which can be polluted with oil, antifreeze, household cleaners, and other chemicals.
  • Home heating – We know there is nothing better than lighting a fire to keep warm.  If you plan to light a fire or plug in a space heater, remember that the heat will be as attractive to your pets as to you. As your dog or cat snuggles up to the warmth, keep an eye out to make sure that no tails or paws come in contact with flames, heating coils, or hot surfaces. Pets are clumsy and also unable to undo a small mistake so remember that they can either burn themselves or knock a heat source over and put the entire household in danger.

For more information on health and nutrition tips for cats and dogs of all life stages, visit

I find my dogs get their winter coats but still  do not like it outside. Our Husky when she was younger love the snow. Not so much anymore. I also noticed with the furnace being on the dogs are more thirsty than  usual. We have laminate throughout the house and blankets and dog beds everywhere so the dogs have a comfy  place to lay and sleep. At night the two labs sleep at the foot of our bed on the floor where it is carpeted. No matter where I am, they a re not far:)


  1. Great tips, pets are part of the family too!
    My recent post Capturing the Magic of the Moment – Birth Photography

  2. These are great tips for the average dog. I have an Alaskan Malamute and she LOVES the snow and cold. We'll often find her covered in snow asleep. The colder it is the better. 😉
    My recent post Wordless Wednesday~ Sunshine Village, Banff Alberta

  3. I have a Lab and she is never very far from me either. She loves the snow. She is quite the embarassment on our walks. Slipping, slidding, diving, rolling, snow plowing the whole time! Freak show but I love her. Thanks for the reminders on keeping her safe.
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  4. Great tips for all parents of fur babies! Our dog loves the snow and being outdoors. He's a Husky/lab mix. Your tip about hydration is so important. Just because there's snow outside, doesn't mean people should not put out water for drinking! Thanks for sharing these tips!

  5. i don't think i realized you had three dog K. very cool!
    great post. I loved putting my little pup in a pink puffy vest in the winter! 🙂
    My recent post Oh Thomas Cook Kids First #TCKF, you have me dreaming!

  6. mommyoutside says

    I don't have dogs now but grew up with them on the farm. Our dogs were outside dogs only so caring for them in the winter was especially important. We only had breeds (like Norwegian Elk Hounds for example) that did well with cold weather but we provided plenty of warm shelter and always made sure they had a clean supply of water.

    That salt and other ice melting chemicals that your dogs pick up on their paws are not just bad for their paws but can make them sick too. Just another reason to make sure you give their paws a good cleaning after walks!

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