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Cold Weather Considerations for Your Pet

With colder weather fast approaching, our Timmins vets feel it important to discuss how to help your pet through it.

Road Salt

Road salt can cause irritations and chemical burns to the pads of your dog’s feet with prolonged exposure (i.e. during walks).

To prevent burns from road salt, wash your dog’s paws after every walk using warm water with a tablespoon of baking soda dissolved in it. Make sure to dry the paws afterwards. You can also protect your dog’s paws during walks with dog boots or creams and salves applied to paws before each walk. Avoid walking on heavily salted sidewalks and roadways and use only pet-safe de-icers around your home.

Cold Weather Exposure

Remember: pets feel the cold too. Even heavily coated breeds are at risk of hypothermia. Hypothermia occurs with prolonged exposure to cold. It causes your pet’s body temperature to drop and when not treated, can be life-threatening.

Do not leave your pet exposed to cold temperatures for extended periods of time and always provide adequate protection such as an insulated/heated shelter. Never leave pets out overnight. If you are cold, they are cold too. Bring them inside!


In cold temperatures, our pets are at risk for frostbite. Thinly-haired areas such as the nose, ears, paws and tail are at a high risk of freezing in winter temperatures. At -20° a cat’s ear tips can freeze if exposed for even a few minutes. Thin-coated dogs such as Boxers, Dobermans, Bulldogs, etc are also at a high risk of frostbite.

If you think your pet has suffered from frostbite, call or come to the animal hospital immediately. If you are unable to come in, heat affected areas with warm (not hot!) water and massage tissue gently but rapidly. Have your pet examined as soon as possible.


Antifreeze and coolants are being used in many vehicles and drainpipes. They pose a threat to your pets. Antifreeze can be leaked on snow in roadways, parking lots and driveways accidentally from vehicles causing a colourful stain on the snow. Antifreeze is sweet tasting to our pets and many pets will lick or eat the soiled snow. This chemical is highly toxic to your pets and even a tablespoonful ingested can be life-threatening. Antifreeze toxicity causes kidney failure when it crystallizes in the bloodstream.

Do not allow your pet loose on any unknown property and watch sidewalks and roadways for spills. If you suspect your pet ingested any amount of antifreeze, call or come to the animal hospital immediately. It is an emergency situation and if left untreated, toxicity can cause death.

Does your pet have a cold weather emergency? Contact our Timmins vets immediately!

New Patients Welcome

Timmins Animal Hospital is accepting new patients! Our vets are passionate about the health of Northern Ontario companion animals. Get in touch today to book your pet's first appointment.

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