Saturday, January 4, 2014

Winter Weather Care For Outdoor Pets

Country living. A sanctuary away from busy life, city lights and hustle and bustle. 

Along with country living comes animals. Beautiful cats, dogs and even an occasional bunny, horse or goat! 

Outside animals are by no means immune to the effects of cold weather. Although they spend the majority of their time outside, a quick drop in temperature can still be a shock.

Below are some winter weather care tips:
  • Access to fresh water is vital. Consider using a heated water bowl or plastic bowls to keep your pet's water from freezing. I have read that a floating ball will help to stop ice from forming across the entire surface, that is if your dog will leave it there. 
  • Access to plenty of shelter can mean the difference in survival or hypothermia. The cold weather is often accompanied by strong winds, so it is important that a dog kennel provides adequate shelter.  
  • Your dog needs a warm, dry home. A dog house that is well-insulated is ideal. It is important that the house has flooring and is lifted slightly off the ground. When a dog gets cold, he uses his own energy supply to keep warm. So where he lays makes a difference. 
  • For additional warmth use cedar chips, straw or hay. Blankets can be washed so they are also ideal as long as they do not get wet. Make sure your pet has a dry place to lay.  Replace straws and blankets when wet! 
  • Convert an old t-shirt into a night shirt for your cat or dog. Buy them a sweater or warming jacket. 
  • We personally hang lighting to provide additional warmth but be extremely cautious when adding anything electrical. Be sure your animals don't chew and that the heat source is safe from any fire starter. 
  • Make sure your dogs are groomed- matted hair cannot hold heat. Fluff up fur for extra warmth. Keep them brushed and smooth. 
  • Access to sheds, barns and garages are definitely a plus to keep the critters snug! 
  • Lean to's, barns and sheds give livestock and farm animals shelter from blistering winds. 
  • DO NOT chain your animals. Chains prevent them from reaching water, shelter and shade. They are so limited in movement so chaining can be inhumane. Imagine seeing the water, but unable to reach it. Imagine peeing and pooping in the same area you sleep. Imagine the urge to run. 
  • Increase an outside dog or cats food rations: They use more energy keeping warm, so this means that they burn more calories and require extra nutrition. 
  • Bring your cats and dogs inside when temps drop below 0 degrees if at all possible, if not keep an eye out for any problems or additional needs. 
  • Finally report any animal neglect you see! Call animal control or authorities if you see animals in need or without appropriate shelter. It only takes one call. 

1 comment:

  1. Great tips. I recently had a bit of a crisis with a neighbors dog he was left outside all day and it was so cold and snowy here. Are sweet Izzzy is an inside dog. I was crying when I called and asked the local animal control what could be done to help him. The whole time my sweet Izzy was sleeping in my arms. comfy and cozy .Thank you so much for helping to make the Thursday Favorite Things blog hop so much fun Hugs!


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