The Showcase Magazine - Articles

Animal Winter Safety Is COOL

By Mary Lou Hanlon

Gone are the days of 90-degree temperatures. We find ourselves and our pets in the season of freezing temperatures, ice, sleet, and snow.

Whether you are caring for your pets yourself or have hired a responsible service to care for them in your absence, some pre-planning will assist caring for them and keep everyone safe and healthy in the process. At the top of the list should be contracting a snow removal company to keep driveways and walks free of ice and snow. Many people that find themselves in their local emergency room wound up there as a result of a slip and fall while walking a dog. These same slippery conditions affect our dogs. Dislocations, broken bones, and torn ligaments can also occur to them as they try their best to keep themselves upright under unsavory conditions.

Pet safe ice melt is a must in the winter. While more expensive than salt, it is much kinder to your pet’s paws. You might also consider some type of booties for your dog. My favorite is Pawz boots. These are inexpensive, disposable, biodegradable latex booties. They will keep your dog’s paws dry and protect them from salt and chemicals. They will also add a bit of traction. You can view the Pawz boots at this website

You don’t like the idea of putting boots on your dog? At the very least make sure their nails are very short and that the fur in between their pads is well trimmed. This goes for cats as well. Long nails make it harder for animals to walk on ice and furry slippers attract snow which hardens into ice balls between the pads, “snow toes”, making walking very painful.

Is it too cold for a walk? Dropping temperatures and slippery conditions require appropriate clothing. Keeping a set of slip on cleats at your door can come in quite handy to keep you upright on the ice. Dressing in layers and adding a hat and appropriate gloves will keep you much more comfortable.

Dogs just like people have different tolerances to cold. Generally, young dogs, senior dogs and shorter coated dogs will be more susceptible to the cold. They should not be kept outdoors unsupervised as they can easily get frostbite and hypothermia. To ensure they are getting enough exercise, put a nice warm coat on them. Now that the two of you are appropriately outfitted you will be able to go on a nice walk together even in the cold.

Now that the walks are clear and the two of you are properly outfitted, get out there and get those 10,000 steps in!

Mary Lou Hanlon is a longtime resident of Warren and is the owner of PetMinders, Inc, The Kennel Alternative. PetMinders has been providing professional pet sitting and dog training lessons in the privacy of clients homes for over 18 years. Mary Lou is one of the nation's top agility competitors. She has competed both nationally and internationally and has received numerous awards in both dog obedience and agility. She can be reached at 908-755-PETS (7387), via email at or visit the website