Winter is on the way, and that means people who own dogs and cats need to take steps to keep their furry friends safe. While most dogs and cats do have fur, they are not immune to cold temperatures, and they can develop hypothermia if they are left out too long without protection. With that in mind, here are some tips courtesy of greatplainsspca.org for keeping your pet safe during the winter:
Make sure your pet has access to some shelter
If your dog or cat likes to stay outside, they should have a doghouse or the like. Make sure the pethouse is insulated with old blankets, plastic, or foamboard to keep the pet warm. Line the floor with some kind of bedding, and make sure that bedding stays dry, for wet bedding can cause the animal to develop a fatal case of hypothermia.
Be careful with pet sweaters
While pet sweaters can help an animal stay warm, they do have some drawbacks. First off, they only work if they’re dry. If a pet sweater gets wet, the animal will get very cold very quickly. In addition, some animals, like many cats, don’t like sweaters and will get tangled up while trying to get out of them. In the worst cases, the pet can get strangled. If you put your animal in a sweater, you should go outside with them to keep an eye on them.
Know your pet’s limits
Young and healthy animals with long, thick fur can tolerate colder temperatures than other pets. If a pet is very young, very old, or has health problems, you should keep them inside. Short-legged animals like Munchkin cats or Corgis are also more sensitive to cold because their bodies have more contact with the cold ground than do those of pets with longer legs.
Consider your pet’s bathroom needs
A cat’s bathroom needs are pretty straightforward: Make sure they have a litter box or two. Most people, however, take their dogs outside to answer the call of nature. If you do this, consider getting Fido some booties to keep his feet warm. Also, keep a spot in the yard free of snow where he can do his business. If the weather is really horrible and/or your dog has health issues, get some pet pee pads for him. They come in a range of sizes for anything from a Chihuahua to a Great Dane. Some small dogs can also use a cat’s litter box.