It’s getting cold in many parts of the country and many of us are waking up to frigid temperatures. Although our pets come with their own fur coats, they have become used to the warmth an indoor shelter gives them. They need extra protection from us on cold winter days. Here are some tips to keep your pets cozy, warm and safe when the weather turns cold.
- Bring them indoors. Although some pets with heavy coats can take more cold than others, even outdoor pets should be brought inside when temperatures drop below 35 degrees. In fact, young pets, senior pets, and pets with short hair should be taken inside if temps are below 40 degrees.
- Keep your pets properly groomed. If your pet has long, thick fur, proper grooming is important for keeping them properly insulated. If your pet is heavily matted, he can’t keep himself warm. If the matts can’t be brushed out, you’re better off having his hair cut short and starting fresh to prevent issues with skin infections under the matts. He can always wear a sweater or coat until his fur grows out.
- Be cautious of antifreeze. It’s a common and deadly poison for pets, especially during the winter months. It has a sweet taste and smell, so animals will readily lick it up and it only takes a small amount to cause fatal poisoning. If you spill antifreeze or it leaks out of your car, dilute the area well with water, then cover the area thoroughly with rocks, sand or dirt to keep pets from licking it up. If you suspect an animal has consumed antifreeze, head to the closest vet immediately.
- This should go without saying, but outdoor pets must have a good shelter. They need a house with three completely enclosed sides that’s up off the ground and contains lots of bedding, such as hay or straw. Choose a house that’s just big enough for your pet to get cozy in because his body heat will be able to warm it up better if it’s not too big.
- For pets who are outdoors in colder weather, water is a concern. Use heated water bowls and replenish them at least twice a day to ensure that the animal has constant access to water that’s not frozen.
- Check under your hood before you start your car. Cats love to warm up underneath car hoods. Always pound on the hood to scare your cat or neighborhood cats away prior to starting it. It’s a good idea to open the hood and a visual inspection if you can.
- Never leave your pet alone in the car at any time of year. In the winter, they are susceptible to hypothermia in a cold car. If the heat’s left on, carbon monoxide poisoning is likely.
- Be cautious with heat sources. Animals love to cuddle up close to fireplaces, heaters, and woodstoves. Pet proof these heat sources to prevent burns.
Following these guidelines will help your pets have a safe and happy winter.