December 12, 2016

General Wellness & Prevention

Baby, it’s Cold Outside! 5 Tips to Help Keep Your Pets Warm This Winter

by Aili V. Heintz, DVM

I for one, actually like (and yes even look forward to) winter. I love seeing the beautiful snow and doing all the fun outside activities like sledding and ice skating. But sometimes I do have to admit that the cold can be a bit too cold at times for even me. It isn’t just people that are affected by the cold; our animals can get cold quite quickly during the winter months. Here are tips to help keep your pets warm and toasty this winter season:

1. Keep outside time shortCold Outside 2

It makes sense. When it’s cold outside, we don’t want to spend a lot of time outside, so why would our pets? Limit outside time to short intervals for potty breaks, especially in severe cold temperatures. Long walks or outside playtime may not be possible. Don’t forget to plan for some inside play time or visits to doggie daycare to allow your pet to burn off some extra energy during the cold weather.

2. It’s all in what you wear

Whether you love it or hate it pet jackets, sweaters, and even booties can significantly help to keep your pet warmer while outside. Clothing serves as an extra insulating layer from the outside elements. Some people even use dog goggles to help protect their pet’s eyes from the frigid wind!

3. Make your outside areas warmer

Insulate or make your outside areas warmer and more protected from the elements (the wind, snow, rain, etc.) to keep your pet more comfortable in the colder temps. Build a wall or wind barriers to reduce the winter chill from the wind. Provide insulated or even heated dog or cat houses to keep your pet protected and warmed on chilly days. Remember, even a heated house outside will still get cold on days with super low temperatures or wind chills. Don’t forget to check your outside areas, too! Heated areas may lose power during snow or ice storms, and wind barriers may get knocked down.

4. Don’t touch the thermostat

Many people tend to turn down the heat in the house while everyone is at work or at school. While this may help to save a few pennies on your heating bill, remember who is left at your house while you are away—your pets! In gecold outside windowneral, if the temperature in your house is too cold for you, your pet is probably too cold as well. And don’t forget your exotic pets such as birds that can be very sensitive to cold temperatures.

5. Weatherproof your home

In many homes, there is that one area by the window or by the door where you can feel a noticeable draft. This draft allows cold air to enter your home, making you and your pet chilled. Keep in mind that warm air rises and cold air sinks, so those cold air drafts are going right to where your pet is napping or kenneled at night. Birds, rabbits, and guinea pigs can also be sensitive to cold drafts and may be more likely to get respiratory infections if they are too cold.

With these simple reminders, you should be able to create a warm, comfortable environment for your pets, even on the coldest of days. Don’t forget, pets often make great lap warmers. Together, you and your pets might find the winter months to be quite enjoyable!