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Protecting Cats and Dogs From Winter Colds

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Author: Team Perfect Pet

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Just like humans, our beloved furry family members—cats and dogs—are susceptible to catching colds.  While it might seem surprising, pets can experience symptoms similar to our own when they come down with a cold. Sneezing, coughing, and lethargy are all signs that your four-legged family members might be feeling under the weather. Consider the following tips to help prevent your cat or dog from catching a cold this winter: 

Nutritious Diet

Proper nutrition plays a crucial role in maintaining your pet’s health, including their immune system. Ensure your pets are receiving a balanced and nutritious diet. If necessary, consult your veterinarian for guidance on the best food choices for your pet’s breed, age, and health condition.

Hydration is Key

Adequate hydration is essential for supporting your pet’s overall health. During the winter, pets may be less inclined to drink water, so make sure they have access to fresh water at all times. Consider offering warm water if your pet prefers it during colder weather.

Up-to-Date Vaccinations

One of the most effective ways to prevent respiratory infections in pets is through regular vaccinations. Ensure that your dogs and cats are up-to-date on their vaccinations, as these can protect them from some of the common viruses that cause respiratory issues. Consult with your vet to establish a suitable vaccination schedule based on your pet’s age, health, and lifestyle.

Regular Exercise

Exercise is vital for keeping your pets in good physical condition and supporting a robust immune system. Even in winter, provide opportunities for exercise indoors or dress your pet in protective clothing to keep them warm during outdoor activities.

Protective Clothing

Consider dressing your dog in a sweater or jacket to provide extra warmth, particularly for short-haired or smaller breeds. Make sure the clothing is appropriate for the weather conditions; it should provide warmth without causing overheating.

Stay Dry

Wet fur can make your dog more susceptible to the cold. If it’s rainy or snowy, use a waterproof coat or jacket to keep your dog dry.

Limit Exposure

In extremely cold weather, limit the time your cat or dog spends outdoors. Shorten the length of dog walks and consider more frequent but shorter outings. Pay attention to your pets’ behaviour. If they seem uncomfortable it may be time to head indoors.

Choose the Right Time

Schedule walks during the warmer parts of the day, such as late morning or early afternoon, to avoid the coldest temperatures. Be mindful of wind chill, as it can make the temperature feel colder.

Keep Paws Protected

Cold pavement and icy surfaces can be harsh on your pet’s paws. Consider using pet-safe paw balms or booties to protect their feet during walks. Wipe their paws after being outside to remove any ice or salt that may cause irritation.

Grooming Practices

Regular grooming is important to keep your pet’s fur in good condition. Clean fur provides better insulation against the cold and helps prevent matting, which can contribute to skin issues. Additionally, a well-groomed pet is more likely to stay dry and comfortable in winter weather.

Avoid Exposure to Sick Animals

If you’re aware of other animals in your neighbourhood or social circles that are sick, try to limit your pet’s exposure to them. Respiratory infections can spread easily among animals, particularly in places like dog parks and boarding facilities. Be cautious and vigilant about your pet’s interactions with unfamiliar animals.

Watch for Signs of Illness

Stay vigilant for any signs of illness in your pet, such as coughing, sneezing, lethargy, or a change in appetite. If you notice any unusual behaviour or symptoms, consult your veterinarian promptly for proper diagnosis and treatment.

If you are a Perfect Pet insurance policyholder (excluding Accident Only plans) you can call the Perfect Pet Vet Assist line for FREE advice if you are concerned about your pet. 


By taking these preventative measures, you can help ensure that your beloved pets stay healthy and happy throughout the winter season. Regular care, attention to their environment, and prompt veterinary advice when needed will help ward off cold-related issues.

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