There are many illnesses that are important to be aware of when you have cats or dogs in your home. It is important to be aware of these three illnesses to take the best care of your pets during these freezing months.


Hypothermia can plague pets just as easily as humans in extremely cold temperatures. Hypothermia is caused by dangerously low body temperatures due to cold conditions and can increase in likelihood if your pet is outside for extended periods of time.  Hypothermia can be even more prevalent when pets fur is wet from snow or ice. Symptoms show themselves through shivering, paleness of their skin, and becoming extremely lethargic. If you suspect that your cat or dog has hypothermia, wrap them up in warm blankets. You can also add heating pads or hot water bottles carefully under the blankets close to your pet’s body, but not touching them, to increase warmth. Check your pet’s temperature every 10 minutes until it is above 98º and if it does not rise, contact a vet immediately.

Antifreeze Poisoning

Many different chemicals cover sidewalks and roads to prevent ice and can pose a threat that some may not realize. Antifreeze usually contains the chemical ethylene glycol, which has a sweet taste for pet’s. However, it is poisonous to any pet. This chemical can cause nausea, vomiting, and wobbly walking. These symptoms can even escalate to seizures and comatose, so it is important to act as soon as your pet’s behavior seems unusual.


Frostbite damages the pet’s skin and tissue when there are extended periods of exposure to winter elements. The severity of frostbite can range from mild to extreme, and most often occurs on your dog or cat’s ears, tails, or paws. Skin will get pale and have a bluish-white hue and is usually cool to the touch. Ice can also form on the affected areas. Frostbite situations should be handled the same way as hypothermia, but do not put any heat source directly on the affected area. Pat dry with a warm towel and contact your vet.

Like you, we want your pets to live their best and healthiest lives and have the ability to have fun outdoors in the winter! Just make sure that they are doing so within a safe environment.


Photo by Andreas Schmolmueller: