As we anticipate the arrival of another cold winter season, Canadians throughout the country demonstrate their natural ability to “winterize.” In the late fall, RVs, pools, cottages and boats are methodically closed down in preparation for winter’s hazards. Doing so acts as a rite of passage for the season; only once everything is in its place can winter’s fun activities be enjoyed to their fullest.

The same is true for our furry family members. For them, winter brings many exciting opportunities, but their bodies are not prepared for the dangers of the season; they rely on us to “winterize” them.

If your pet is young, small, short-haired, or a senior, then he or she is especially susceptible to cold, especially during those days when wind chill warnings whistle on the radio. Even though our furry friends may look like they’re wearing winter coats, they can still easily get frostbite and hypothermia. Both conditions require immediate veterinary attention, so monitor your pet closely and never leave them outside unattended. In addition to the cold, ice and road salt can also damage unprotected paws. Both often lead to over-grooming, which can result in painful skin issues.

This weather can make it very difficult to give your pet the exercise he or she needs to stay healthy. While walks should still be skipped on days when it’s too cold, wet, or windy, many issues can be avoided by wearing boots and sweaters or diligently cleaning paws after going outside. Dogs and long-haired cats also benefit from regular grooming during the winter, by minimizing mats and clumps, removing debris, and keeping their skin in good condition.

All the while, seasonal temptations surround our furry friends. Sweet but deadly antifreeze is just as enticing as nuts, onions, citrus, coffee, chocolate, grapes, and raisins, which are also toxic. Properly cleaning up these items and storing them out of reach may save your pet’s life.

By understanding the risks and being proactive, we can help our furry friends enjoy beautiful winter moments, whether walking on crisp trails, chasing toboggans, or simply snuggling comfortably by a fireplace. Just like winterizing a car or a house, proper seasonal care can help keep your pet happy and healthy for years to come.

Dr. I. Wonder is here to answer your questions regarding your furry family members. If you have a question, email it to us at  Our team at Neighbourhood Pet Clinic will tap into their collective experience to answer your various questions.