Caring for Your Pets in Winter

Golden retriever with tongue out sat on a bed under a grey blanket
Written by: Alistair Ball Head of Insurance, Asda Money 11 Jan 2021

Winter means finding ways to stay cosy and warm for both you and your pets, with extra care taken when out and about. Much like us, the most important thing for your pets is staying dry and warm in all that cold, damp weather, and keeping safe on darker mornings and evenings.

Winter care for cats

Cats famously like to stay warm and comfortable, though plenty still like to spend time outside even when it is cold. Whether your cat refuses to get up from the sofa or just can’t wait to get out and explore in the snow, here’s what to keep in mind:

Cosy places to sleep

Cats always appreciate somewhere cosy to curl up, but it’s especially important in the winter. Radiator beds can be a great addition if your cat really loves to be at the source of the warmth, or you could get an igloo bed to give them an extra cosy sleeping spot.

Outdoor shelter

If your cat is still happy to spend time outside during the winter, make sure they have somewhere to hide during the rain or wind on miserable days. A cat flap is the best solution so they can come and go freely, but a sheltered spot outside gives them somewhere to sit and keep dry if they still want to be out.

Litter trays

On days when the weather is particularly bad or there’s been heavy snow, it’s good to provide a litter tray so your cat doesn’t have to venture outside.

Winter care for dogs

Keeping your dog safe and happy during the winter has added considerations when it comes to walkies and staying active, and a lot can depend on the type of dog you have. Some breeds like huskies will love the colder weather, but smaller breeds might be more hesitant to leave the warm indoors.

Keeping warm

As we’ve said, some dogs cope better than others with cold weather, and this is usually down to their size and coat. Most dogs are fine in cold weather with their fur keeping them warm, but smaller breeds and short-haired breeds might need the extra help of a padded winter coat.

Safe walkies

Short winter days can mean going for walks in the dark, which means taking some extra precautions to stay safe. Use an LED collar and other reflective gear to make sure your dog (and you!) can be seen in the dark. A reliable torch if you’re in the countryside or a park is also essential.

Snow safety

After a walk in the snow, it’s important to check for snow on your dog’s paws and make sure they’re dry and clean. Long-haired dogs are prone to snow compacting between their toes, which can lead to painful chunks of ice. You should also be wary of road grit and snow-melting chemicals on the ground, as these can also irritate paws or lodged between toes.

Active indoors

If your dog really doesn’t want to venture out into the cold, giving them extra playtime indoors can help to keep them active and engaged.

Winter care for small pets

Small pets like rabbits and guinea pigs also need extra care during the winter to make sure they’re comfortable and healthy.

Rabbits and guinea pigs

If you have rabbits or guinea pigs that normally live outdoors, consider bringing them inside or at least to a sheltered space where they can be protected from the weather. Outdoor hutches will need extra insulation and extra hay and bedding to keep their occupants warm and cosy when temperatures really start to drop.

Smaller pets

For other indoor pets such as hamsters and gerbils, make sure cages and enclosures are placed away from cold draughts as well as not too close to direct heat sources. Make sure they also have plenty of bedding to make themselves nice and cosy.


For tropical aquariums, keep a close eye on their water temperature during winter to make sure it isn’t getting too cold. You may need to adjust the heater if they’re in a room that tends to get chilly, especially overnight. For pond fish, make sure to break up ice, or place a ball on the water that can be removed to create an air hold to ensure their water is properly oxygenated.

Asda Pet Insurance

Our pet insurance policies offer multi-pet discounts, access to a 24 hour Vet Advice Line and the option to pay monthly by direct debit with no interest charges. Check out our Pet Insurance page for more details and to get a quote. Please note: we only insure cats and dogs.

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