When the temperature decreases in autumn and winter, we put on warm jackets, scarves, and extra blankets on our beds to keep us warm at night. But what about our pets? How can we keep them warm and cozy during the cold winter days and nights?
Sometimes we forget that our pets need shelter and warmth of our indoor homes as we are. It is important to take special care of your pet during the cool days, and there are many things you can do to keep your pet safe and warm in winter. This article will help you to learn about winter care for your pet.
How Does Wintertime Affect Our Pets?
The cold season affects animals in several ways. Pets react to them in the same way as in the wild. They need to eat more during the cold season. Besides, animals, just like humans, are prone to depression due to lack of daylight. The pet’s fur becomes thicker due to the cold, and the skin becomes dry. In some cases, this can lead to dandruff.
Also, the dogs’ paws are at high risk due to the cold. And if you walk less with the dog during the cold season, the pet may have joint problems or will start to gain weight.
It is important to notice all these gaps beforehand and react immediately. Dogs that live outside are especially susceptible to weather changes; therefore, this is especially important to keep them warm in winter.
Signs of Hypothermia
Hypothermia is a low body temperature. It can affect humans and any animal. The first effect of frostbite in your pet is chills. It’s simple: if you see the animal is shivering, then this is a sign that he has hypothermia. The pet’s body may not shiver, only the limbs. Also, weakness may be the first sign of hypothermia in dogs. In severe cases, bradycardia (abnormal heart rate) may occur. It can be identified by such signs as frequent breathing and dilated pupils. With severe hypothermia, fainting or even coma is also possible. Symptoms of hypothermia in cats don’t differ from those in dogs.
Identifying hypothermia or a temperature decrease in the early stages is necessary, and it is better to prevent the severe symptoms of the illness. Follow the rules of keeping pets warm in winter.
Top Winter Warmer Tips
Nothing warms the owner’s heart faster than seeing a puppy or kitten in a cute, warm jumper. You will most likely need clothes if your cat or dog walks outside during the cold season. It is especially important if you have a small dog breed. Today there is a wide selection of pet clothing of different cost ranges and styles. Choose what your pet is comfortable with and what you like.
Keep Paws Clean
Take care of the paws, especially if your pet often plays outside. When you come home after a walk, wash them with warm (but not hot!) water. Wipe them off gently.
Keep Pets Indoors
If your pet lives indoors, he still may freeze. But unlike a human, if your pet is cold, he won’t be able to tell you about it. That’s why you must watch your dog to find his favorite place in the house. And check if the temperature is normal in there. Pay special attention not only to dogs but to cats as well.
Get Enough Exercise
Remember that any animal needs to move, especially dogs. Regular activity helps boost metabolism and keep enough warmth. It would help if you always remember that this is one of the most crucial issues for thermoregulation.
Keep Your Pet Fed and Hydrated
In winter, temperatures drop, daylight decreases, and the body requires more energy to keep warm. Since our body gets energy from food, we need more food in winter. Therefore, give your pet slightly more portions than during the warmer months. Extra calories are essential to keep proper the core body temperature. Some breeds even have additional winter nutritional needs. Always contact your vet for advice on how you should feed your four-paws friend if you think he can get overweight.
It is also important not to forget about water. In winter, house heating often dries the air. Therefore, hydration is critical for your pets.
Winter Grooming Routine
Everyone knows that the animal’s coat is their primary source of warmth. That’s why people may be tempted to let the coats grow long in winter to keep our pets warm. But a grooming routine will keep the animal comfortable and help avoid skin problems. It is often wet in winter, with puddles, mud, and wet grass; that’s why dirty coats, matting, and knots may become a problem. Also, remember to wash your pet indoors using warm water, then dry the pet off with a warm towel.
Don’t Leave Pets Outside Alone for Long Periods
If your dog or cat lives outside, even if they have their kennel, you should not leave it alone for a long time. Because of this, pets experience additional stress and develop a long-lasting form of depression.
Soft, Heated Bedding and Insulated Shelter
Keeping your pet inside during the winter period is ideal for the animal. However, if they are outdoor pets, it would be difficult to change their sleeping habits. An insulated shelter, like a kennel, will help you, As well as a warm place to sleep away from drafts. Don’t forget to elevate the bed off the cold floor. It will not only help in keeping pets warm but also prevent moisture from seeping into their blankets. Make extra warm, soft bedding to sleep with, like cushions, blankets, and even heating devices.
Regular Health Check-Ups
Always take your pet to the vet for a regular health check-up, especially if you are an older cat or dog owner.
How Cold is Too Cold for Pets?
The average temperature above which animals feel good is 50 degrees Fahrenheit (i.e., 10 degrees Celsius). Below this limit, it may be uncomfortable for some dogs to walk outside. It is also more difficult for cats to warm themselves if the temperature is lower than 10 degrees Celsius.
Use extra caution when the outside temperature drops below 45 degrees Fahrenheit (around 7 degrees Celsius). It may be unsafe for little or medium dogs that have thin coats. However, big dogs have heavier coats, so they probably will be OK.
If the temperature is below 20°F, all owners should be aware of potentially developed frostbite and hypothermia.
How can I keep my dog warm at night?
You should do several simple steps:
- use heated mats and bedding;
- raise their bed off the floor. The bedding should be at least 3 inches off the floor; it helps to avoid any cold drafts;
- build your dog a cozy nest at night, or buy a dog nesting bed instead:
- buy dog pajamas;
- prevent draft in the place your dog sleeps in;
- put indoor grass patches and heated dog bowls.
How to Make a Warm Dog House for Winter?
In case when there is no chance to leave the pet inside during the winter season, you must do everything possible to make the dog’s house warm. Here are our suggestions:
- Insulate the kennel.
- Raise the dog house and the dog bed off.
- Get rid of any draughts and direct wind.
- Put rugs and carpets inside or even a heated kennel pad.
- Waterproofing and weatherproofing of the exterior are a must.
- Make the warm dog bed and put plenty of bedding.
- You may consider buying an insulated dog house and heater.
How to Keep Dogs Paws Warm in Snow?
These simple paw protection measures may take extra time before and after walks. But following these tips can keep your dog comfortable all winter long:
Keep paw pads moisturized.
You can do it with dog paw balm or paw wax before going for a winter walk. The moisturizing lotion is a barrier that keeps out ice and harmful chemicals.
You can also use moisturizing products to moisturize and soothe your dog’s paw pads after walks. Before using any product, make sure the paws are clean.
Keep your pup hydrated.
Make sure your cat or dog has plenty of water available. Besides, if you go for a long walk, take some water with you.
A humidifier can also help; it will be healthy for the animal and the whole family.
Wash the dog’s paws after walks.
To wash the paws, use warm water, then towel dry. It helps to remove salt, ice, chemicals, and any other buildup. Moreover, it helps to keep your floors clean too.
Avoid deicing agents.
Help your pet stay away from slushy or salty areas during your walks. Such ice deicers as sodium chloride and calcium chloride can harm paws. If you use ice deicers outside your home, choose pet-safe ice melters. Ask your neighbors to do the same.
Shorten Your Walks in Winter
Limiting the walk with a pet is better unless your dog loves running around in the snow and cold.
Keep your dog’s paws groomed.
Trimming your dog’s nails and fur between their toes will help clean paws.
Purchase dog boots or booties.
Dog booties will keep your pup’s toes nice and dry. Besides, they protect your dog’s paws from chemicals, salt, ice, and other winter hazards.
It’s important to get the right size and start with just a few minutes of wearing them.
Monitor your dog’s paws.
Check the pads and between the toes regularly. If the pet licks the paws, if you find cracks, redness, discoloration, or wounds, contact your vet to get help.
Treatment For Hypothermia
If you find hypothermia in your pet, then you should follow these rules:
- rinse the feet with warm water;
- wrap your pet in a cloth;
- place a bottle of warm water close to your pet;
- don’t put your pet on a radiator as he may get burned;
- if the chills persist and the pet begins to feel worse, you should immediately contact your veterinarian.
A mild degree of hypothermia in a pet often doesn’t need to be treated. You need to contact veterinarians only in severe cases. However, it is best to avoid hypothermia and take precautions.
It is crucial to monitor the animal’s condition in winter because pets are more vulnerable to the low environmental temperature. Caring for a cat and a dog may differ, and you need to know how to keep outside cats warm in winter and the best way to keep dogs warm in winter, depending on your animal. If you hesitate about what to do, it is better to talk to a veterinarian.
Can I Leave My Pet Outside Overnight?
You should not leave pets outside at night in winter, even if they usually live outside. Temperatures can drop even lower at night, and you may be unable to take action quickly. If you still decide to keep a dog outside the whole night, read all the rules for keeping dogs warm outside.
How to Keep a Pet From Freezing While Walking Outside?
Consider buying pet clothing to keep your pet warm during the cold season. Don’t forget to move and play active games.
Does a Pet Need Boots to Play and Walk Outside?
It depends on the breed and health. For example, if your dog has sensitive paws or some leg disorder, you should consult a veterinarian about the rules of keeping dogs warm in winter. Moreover, if you decide to put the booties on the pet, introduce these slowly because booties can sometimes take time to get used to.
How Сan I keep My Small Dog Warm in Winter?
The tips are almost the same as for the big dogs. First, pay attention that dogs lose most of the body heat from their ears, paw pads, and respiration. Next, put comfortable clothing on your dog. It may be a coat, sweater, or turtleneck, and don’t forget about boots.
How Can You Tell if Your Dog is Cold?
One of the main signs is shaking, trembling, and shivering. Thus the pet is trying to warm the body. Your dog may also tuck the paws and tail to the heat of the torso and pin the ears back against the head. In addition, the dog may whine, bark, or change his behavior, showing he is uncomfortable and anxious. Reluctance to keep walking, turning around, seeking shelter, or lifting paws off the ground can also be a sign that the pet feels uncomfortable. The same signs are for pets that are cold at night.
Do Dogs Like to Be Covered With a Blanket? And Do Blankets Keep Dogs Warm?
Dogs love their blankets, no matter whether they are at home or on the road. Blankets give them a place to feel warm and comfortable. Regardless of your lifestyle, this is an easy investment that every pet owner can make to improve their animal’s quality of life. Put a blanket to the dog bed; it will keep the animal warm. Your four-paws friend will especially appreciate the blanket during cold temperatures periods.
What Is the Warmest Bedding for a Dog?
Wood chips which are made from cedar or pine. Cedar and pine chips have insect-repelling qualities, which will help prevent fleas and other bugs from inhabiting your dog’s house. Besides, they will also provide excellent insulation and comfort for your dog.
Do Small Dogs Get Cold Easily?
Small dogs, dogs with short coats, or dogs with disorders will feel the cold more sharply than larger dogs or breeds with thick coats.
How to Keep Your Dog Warm In The Garage?
The best way to keep the animal warm in a garage is to make sure the garage is properly insulated. If the garage is protected correctly, you may use heaters to keep it warm. It’s also a good idea to provide your dog with a burrow bed to maintain body heat.