With temperatures dropping nationwide for the winter months, we all tend to prep for harsher weather. One thing we might forget to consider is making sure our furry family members are ready for any inclement. Whether your pet has to be outside for a few hours, or you have a primarily outdoor pet there are some key things to have and set up so they are safe and comfortable in the cold weather!
Set Up a Shelter
Providing some sort of shelter for your dog when it is going to be outside is the most important and easiest way to keep them warm when they have to experience cold and freezing temperatures. One thing to keep in mind is, the temperature will tend to be a few degrees cooler than the thermometer will read due to wind temperatures- meaning your pup might be dealing with harsher weather than you think.
If the dogs get wet, their internal temperatures will start to drop making it unsafe for your pets to be outside. This is where having a shelter that is sturdy enough to handle weather and keep snow and rain out is key. When thinking about where to put the shelter, make sure it is accessible to the dog at all times. This will keep your dog safe even when you aren’t home and allow for your dog to find comfort and warmth at any time.
Choose Warm Bedding
One idea to keep your pups warm when they are out in the winter is providing bedding that will help maintain a healthy body temperature. Having the dog lay directly on concrete or cold ground will make their body temperature drop and a blanket will only keep them warm for so long.
Providing a clean bed in the sheltered area is a key way to keep them warm during their time outside. For extra warmth try finding an insulated bed at your local pet store and electric bed warmers that are made especially for pets. You can also provide a jacket for the dog if the temperatures are especially warm to keep their body temperature high. When temperatures drop below freezing adding in a space blanket will help to keep your dog extra warm and reduce chances of hypothermia. To maintain this, make sure to change out beds and extra bedding when they get dirty or are damaged at all.
Food and Water
Changing nutrition and feedings during the winter months is something many pet owners don’t think about but can make a huge difference. One thing to consider is to increase the amount of feedings a day when they are going to be outdoors in cold temperatures. This can keep their energy up and may also increase their weight for more body heat. Consult your veterinarian on what is healthy and smart for your particular furry friend.
Making sure your pet has water at all times is just as important in the winter as it is in the summer. One thing to watch out for when leaving water out during cold temperatures is making sure that it does not freeze or get too cold for them. Changing out the water consistently throughout the day to make sure it clean and drinkable will make sure that your pet stays hydrated and safe for however long they will be outside.
Being prepared for any inclement weather that might come through your area is key to keeping your pets safe and healthy throughout the year.