December 21, 2023

Cold Weather & Holiday Safety Tips for Pets

Pet safety during the winter weather & Holiday Festivities

EUGENE, OREGON – (December 21, 2023) – With holiday festivities in full swing and the weather getting colder, windier, and potentially snowy, Greenhill Humane Society wants to encourage pet families to take extra precaution to keep their furry friends safe this time of year.

Dry, cold air, chilly rain, sleet, and snow can cause chapped paws, itchy skin, and other discomforts to your pet. Follow the tips below to ensure your pets are enjoying their outside adventures this winter: 

-Remember, if it’s too cold for you, it’s cold for your pet, so keep a watchful eye on them when they are outside and bring them inside when unattended.

-Towel dry your pet as soon as they come inside, paying special attention to their feet and in-between the toes. Remove any snow from between their foot pads.

-Never shave your dog down to the skin in winter, as a longer coat will provide more warmth. If your dog is short-haired, consider getting them a coat or sweater.

-After each walk, wash and dry your pet’s feet and stomach to remove ice. Check for cracks in paw pads or redness between the toes. Ice melt products can be irritating to pet’s feet and should be washed off. Use pet-friendly ice melts whenever possible.

-Booties can provide coverage and warmth and can also prevent ice and salt from getting lodged between bare toes and causing irritation. 

-Pets burn extra energy by trying to stay warm in wintertime. Pets who spend a lot of time outdoors may need to be fed more during the cold weather.

-Make sure your companion animal has a warm place to sleep, off the floor and away from all drafts. A cozy dog or cat bed with a warm blanket or pillow is perfect.

-If your pet is shivering and refuses to play, the animal is too coldand should come inside. 

-Most antifreeze is a lethal poison for dogs and cats. Be sure to thoroughly clean up any spills from your vehicle and consider using products that contain propylene glycol rather than ethylene glycol.

-Car motors are of particular danger to cats who sleep outside. Cats seek the warmth of car motors, and they can be severely injured or killed when caught in the fan belt of a car’s engine. Make it a habit to knock on the hood of the car or honk your horn before starting your car.

With the holiday season upon us, it is important to keep your pet’s routine as normal as possible. Follow the tips below to ensure your pets are included in your festivities safely:

-Securely anchor your Christmas tree so it doesn’t tip and fall, causing possible injury to your pet. This will also prevent the tree water—which may contain fertilizers that can cause stomach upset—from spilling.

-Holly, when ingested, can cause pets to suffer nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. Mistletoe can cause gastrointestinal upset and cardiovascular problems. And many varieties of lilies can cause kidney failure in cats if ingested. Opt for just-as-jolly artificial plants made from silk or plastic, or choose a pet-safe bouquet.

-It’s best to brighten your presents with other fun items aside from tinsel which kitties may see as a toy. If ingested, it may lead to an obstructed digestive tract, severe vomiting, dehydration and possible surgery.

-Don’t leave lit candles unattended. Pets may burn themselves or cause a fire if they knock candles over.

-Keep wires, batteries and glass or plastic ornaments out of paws’ reach. A wire can deliver a potentially lethal electrical shock and a punctured battery can cause burns to the mouth and esophagus, while shards of breakable ornaments can damage your pet’s mouth and digestive tract.

-Keep an eye on your pet when the sweets and cocktails are out. As tasty a treat may be for you, unattended plates, beverages, and garbage may lead to your pet getting into things they shouldn’t.

-While the humans are chowing down, feel free to give your pet their own treat. Stock their stockings with chew toys, Kongs filled with healthy foods, new balls or a stuffed catnip toy.

-If you have guests staying over for the holidays, make sure any medication is zipped up and packed away so no curious pets get into it.

-As you count down to the new year, please keep in mind that strings of thrown confetti can get lodged in a cat’s intestines, if ingested, perhaps necessitating surgery. Noisy poppers can terrify pets and cause possible damage to sensitive ears. And remember that many pets are also scared of fireworks, so be sure to secure them in a safe, escape-proof area as midnight approaches.

“We love including our animals in all our outdoor adventures and holiday festivities, but as the weather gets colder and our change in schedules can turn different, it’s important to keep your pet’s healthy and comfort in mind,” said Sarah Bouzad, Greenhill’s Community Engagement & Events Manager. “We would urge pet parents to add a cozy sweater to your pets closet and make sure they do not ingest any non-pet friendly foods.”

To learn more about Greenhill Humane Society or tips on keeping your pets safe in inclement weather and during the holidays, visit


About Greenhill Humane Society
Greenhill Humane Society has been caring for animals in Lane County since 1944. It is a private, non-profit organization that relies on charitable donations. Greenhill is located at 88530 Green Hill Road in Eugene. We envision a world in which all animals are treated with compassion and respect. To learn more visit and follow on FacebookInstagram, Twitter, and TikTok.