VCA Animal Hospitals

Keep your pet safe and warm all winter long

Published: Dec 24, 2012

Back to News

The weather outside is frightful, as the holiday tune goes, and just because your pets have a cozy coat of fur doesn't mean they won't still need some help navigating this chilly season. From snow and ice to anti-freeze and wintry hiding places, there are a number of ways the winter months can be hazardous to pets. Here are several precautions you should take to ensure your pets have a safe, warm winter - indoors and out.

Keeping cats safe outside
Generally, it's a good idea to keep feline companions inside all year long to prevent cat emergencies. In the winter, this is particularly important since cats can freeze. However, if you have outdoor felines in your neighborhood, you will still want to take some precautions to keep them safe. The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) reports that some cats will sleep under the hoods of cars to stay warm, but if a motor starts when the feline is there, the result can be tragic. The organization recommends banging loudly on your car's hood before starting it to give the cat a chance to escape.

Curb the chemicals
Salt, antifreeze and other chemical concoctions are frequently used to melt slippery ice on the sidewalk. Even if you use another non-toxic option on your streets, it's a good idea to rinse your dog's paws when you bring him in from a walk to prevent him from licking the toxic chemicals - ingestion can cause dog vomiting and diarrhea. You should also be sure to keep coolant and anti-freeze for your car out of your dog's reach. This chemical tastes good to dogs, so always be careful when handling these chemicals and clean up any spills to prevent ingestion.

Stay safe in the snow
During a blizzard or after heavy snowfall, it's easier for dogs to lose a scent trail, which makes it easy to become lost. Always keep your dog on the leash during walks in a winter wonderland to stay safe. According to the ASPCA, more dogs are lost in the winter than during any other season, so it's also a good ideas to make sure your canine's microchip and ID tag info are up-to-date.

Keep warm
If you own a long-haired breed of dog, do not shave him down to the skin during the winter - he needs that coat for warmth! Other dogs might even need a sweater or jacket to stay warm outside. If your canine companion must have a bath during the chilly months, make sure you dry him completely before taking him outside.

If you are traveling with your dog or cat, never leave them alone in the car. The ASPCA reports that a car can act like a refrigerator in the winter, holding in the cold air, which can cause the animal to freeze.

Inside, make sure both your dogs and your cats have a warm place to sleep that is away from drafty windows or cold floors. 


General Practice

We have over 540 animal hospitals in 41 states that are staffed by more than 2,000 fully qualified, dedicated and compassionate veterinarians, with more than 200 being board-certified specialists. The nationwide VCA family of general practice hospitals give your pet the very best in medical care, providing a full range of general medical and surgical services as well as specialized treatments*: Wellness, Spay/neuter, Advanced diagnostic services (MRI/CT Scan), Internal medicine, Oncology, Ophthalmology, Dermatology, Cardiology, Neurology, Boarding, Grooming

*services may vary by location.

Our family of pet hospitals stands out by delivering the greatest resources in order provide the highest quality care available for your pets. By maintaining the highest standards of pet health care available anywhere, we emphasize prevention as well as healing. We provide continuing education programs to our doctors and staff and promote the open exchange of professional knowledge and expertise. And finally, we have established a consistent program of procedures and techniques, proven to be the most effective in keeping pets healthy.

Find a VCA General Care Animal Hospital near you:


See all VCA Animal Hospitals >


Specialty Care

Sometimes sick or injured pets need the care of a veterinary medical specialist. When that happens, VCA specialty hospitals work closely with the general practitioner veterinarians who refer cases to us in order to provide seamless veterinary care to your pet. When your pet is facing any kind of serious illness or injury, our specialty referral hospitals will provide the compassionate and expert care your beloved pet needs.

Our goal is to make sure that when you and your pet are in need that you have access to board certified specialists who are up to date on the very latest developments in their field. In our state of the art hospitals, our specialists also have access to the most sophisticated diagnostic and treatment tools and techniques from ultrasonography and endoscopy to CAT scans and even MRI.

We have twenty-eight specialty hospitals across the US so there may be one near you. Our specialized services include: cardiology, critical care, dentistry, dermatology, internal medicine, neurology, oncology, ophthalmology, radiology and surgery.

Find a VCA Specialty Care Animal Hospital near you:


See all VCA Animal Hospitals >


Emergency Care

In case of emergency, please call us immediately. If it is after hours, check with a local animal hospital emergency clinic.