Winter Pet Hazards: What to Look Out For

Male figure walking with dog in snow from behind
Written by: Alistair Ball Head of Insurance, Asda Money 04 Jan 2021

Winter can be a risker time for all of us, from icy pavements and frosty mornings to winter bugs and more, and the same is true for our pets.

While some of these are obvious, there are hazards for your pet you might not have thought about. Here are some potential problems to look out for with your cats and dogs this winter.

Frozen ground

When you’re out walking your dog, icy ground can be a potential hazard, and not just because it’s so cold. The ground can be home to ice-melting chemicals or salts, which could cause irritation to paws or an upset tummy if they get ingested. Just keep an eye out for melted snow and ice in public places that might have been treated, and check your dog’s paws are in good shape after winter walks.  

Frosty paws

If the weather gets extremely cold – below freezing, that is – there’s the potential for your pet to experience problems like frostbite or even hypothermia. The ends of ears, tails, and paws can all be at risk when the weather is freezing, so make sure you’re not taking long walks in sub-zero temperatures, or if your dog is happy to wear them, some protective boots.

Keeping warm

Smaller dogs and short haired breeds can find it hard to keep warm outside in the winter. Older dogs can also be more at risk of suffering from the cold. Keep time spent outdoors in very cold weather to a minimum, and invest in an insulated dog coat to help keep your canine companion cosy and protected from the cold. 


It’s always good to be aware of what your dog might be sniffing at on the ground, but in winter there can also be the risk of anti-freeze leaking or spilled from cars. Your dog could be attracted by the unusual and sweet aroma if some antifreeze has been spilled, and there’s a good chance they’ll have a lick at it too. It’s definitely not going to do them any good, so always see a vet as soon as possible if you think they might have ingested some.

Cats in cars

We all know cats are heat-seeking missiles, but this can get them in trouble in the winter when they’re looking for a warm spot. If you’ve just used your car, or have been warming it up and scraping ice off the windows before setting off, check that your cat, or a neighbour’s cat, hasn’t found somewhere warm to sit out of sight. Warm tyres can also be an inviting spot, so check under the arches, too.

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.

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