Winter Is Coming: Keep Your Pets Safe And Warm!
17 October, 2016
Guest Blog by Amber Kingsley
Fans of the wildly popular HBO program “Game of Thrones,” are very familiar with the series famous tagline, “Winter is coming.” This short phrase is said to have multiple meanings on the show, but for the most part, it’s warning us to be prepared for the coming of these colder months and this includes protecting our pets.
The obvious answer when it comes to helping animals stay warm during winter is to keep them indoors, but for many pets, having them inside 24/7 simply isn’t an option. While dogs and cats are happier and healthier when kept indoors, some of them are simply outdoor animals.
Exterior Housing – A shelter is a must if you pets are outdoors
If you do have a pet that spends the majority of time outdoors, be sure they have some kind of shelter is appropriate for this type of colder climate. Their shelter must be:
- Large enough for them to sit, lie down comfortably, stand up and turn around, but still small enough to help them to hold in their body heat.
- Raised several inches off the ground to prevent the buildup of water and covered with a warm blanket, some cedar shavings or straw.
- Have the doorway covered with a material that is waterproof like heavy plastic.
- Free of drafts, cracks or other openings that can let in the cold.
If they’re in a backyard or other outdoor enclosure, be sure to regularly check for ways they could get out our other wildlife could gain entry through loose boards, faulty hinges or latches. Although wildlife is generally less active in the winter months, they still pose a threat to pets.
Check and bang your hood of your car before you start driving
Outdoor cats, feral or domesticated, are also seeking shelter and warmth from winter’s cold air. Warm car engines and tires on vehicles are common places for felines to take a cat nap. When you’re off to work or school in the morning, be sure to make lots of noise, like banging on your hood, before starting your engine, which could save the life of an unsuspecting, sleeping animal.
Dress your pets with extra clothing during the winter
We bundle up for these colder months and there’s no reason why our pets can’t wear some extra clothing during the winter. Cats, smaller dogs and those with shorter hair are often more comfortable wearing sweaters. Hats, caps and boots can help to protect their sensitive ears and feet from the freezing cold.
Walking and Waiting
If your dog doesn’t have boots when they go out for a walk on city streets, make sure to wash their feet to remove salt and other chemicals that can be used as a deterrent for ice and snow. Rural dogs should also have their paws cleaned to make sure there isn’t frost, rocks, mud, dirt or debris that could be harmful to their feet if left unchecked.
For dogs on a particular schedule when it comes to walking and exercising them, sometimes it can be difficult to alter the time that you take them out. But for their own protection from the elements, walking them later in the afternoon when it’s warmer or not taking them out during a snow or rain storm is better for them overall.
Finally, be on the lookout for antifreeze that many dogs and cats find to have a pleasant aroma and taste. Just a sips of any hazardous liquid could easily kill them or cause irreparable damage to their internal organs. When it gets colder, be aware of your surroundings and help to keep your pet safe and warm this winter.
Travel junkie, Amber Kingsley, is a freelance writer living in Santa Monica, CA. Her art history background helps her hone in on topics that are of interest to readers. She is a dog enthusiast and loves spending time with her pomeranian, Agatha.