Keep Fido and Fluffy Toasty: 12 Tips for Keeping Pets Warm This Winter

Keep Fido and Fluffy Toasty: 12 Tips for Keeping Pets Warm This Winter

As temperatures start to drop, pet parents know that winter brings its own set of care challenges. Just like us, our furry companions can really feel the chill when the mercury plummets!

If you want to make sure your pets stay warm, cozy, and healthy during the colder months, read on for our top tips on keeping dogs, cats, and other domestic animals comfortable when old man winter comes knocking.

Provide Plenty of Bedding

A thick, cushy pet bed can make a huge difference in keeping your furry friend feeling toasty. Look for a bed made with insulating materials like orthopedic foam or comfy cotton batting. For especially chilly pets, try a heated bed with a chew-resistant cord.

You can also DIY extra insulation by adding a blanket or pillow to your pet’s existing bed. Just make sure to remove the bedding if your pet is prone to chewing.

Give Access to Warm Spots

Allowing your pet to huddle up near sources of warmth like sunny windows, fireplaces, and heating vents gives them a cozy spot to warm their paws. Avoid drafty areas.

And don’t forget the power of cuddles! Inviting your dog or cat up onto the sofa or your bed gives them access to your body heat.

Keep Their Coat Well-Groomed

A clean, well-groomed coat provides better insulation against the elements. Bathe pets less frequently in winter to keep their skin’s natural oils intact.

Regular brushing can prevent mats or knots that hold in moisture. Trim the hair around paws to prevent snowballs between their toes. Ask your groomer to skip heavy shearing.

Upgrade Their Diet

The phrase “put some meat on those bones” applies to pets too! Heavier pets tend to stay warmer. Talk to your vet about moderately increasing food or switching to a high-calorie diet during the coldest months.

Dry, starchy kibbles can help dogs build up an insulating fat layer. Cats benefit from extra protein and fat. Avoid overfeeding, though, which strains the heart.

Stay Active Indoors

Don’t let winter weather turn your active pet into a couch potato! Indoor play sessions, food puzzles, and training help burn calories to keep your pet warm.

Try hiding treats around the house for hunting cats or practice new tricks with dogs. Just keep rambunctious play away from hazardous or fragile household objects.

Bundle Them Up

Chilly weather calls for cozy sweaters, insulating booties, and wind-blocking coats. Look for water-resistant outer layers to keep your pet dry.

Remove any clothing when your pet comes indoors. Watch for signs of distress like shivering, whining, or rubbing. Not all pets tolerate clothes.

Provide Shelter Outside

Outdoor pets need extra fortification against the elements. An insulated dog house filled with straw makes an excellent windbreak.

The shelter entry should face away from the wind with a flap over the opening. Place it in a covered spot. Weight it down if necessary.

Check for drafts and make any needed weatherproofing repairs. Keep rain and melted snow from pooling inside.

Limit Time Outdoors

Even bundled up, pets are safest spending minimal time outdoors in extreme cold. Short potty breaks are ideal. Paws can become frostbitten.

Signs of cold stress include shivering, whining, weakness, and abnormal behavior. Get small or elderly pets inside immediately if they seem distressed by the temperature.

Provide Plenty of Water

Hydration is crucial for regulating body temperature. Use tip-proof bowls to avoid spillage that can turn to ice. Refill frequently with warm water to encourage drinking.

Add canned food to their meals since its moisture content is higher than dry. Avoid giving ice cubes which chill their core.

Know Frostbite Warning Signs

In severe cold, pets may develop frostbite on exposed skin like ears, tails, or paws. Frostbitten areas appear pale, hard, and cold to the touch.

As skin thaws, the area reddens and becomes painful. Seek emergency veterinary care if you suspect frostbite. Severe cases require amputation.

Brush Up on Local Laws

When temperatures plummet, some areas prohibit leaving pets unattended outside for extended periods. Even dogs with outdoor shelter may suffer.

Check local ordinances about leaving companion animals outside in freezing weather. Shortening their outdoor time keeps everybody healthy and law-abiding.

Prep a Pet Emergency Kit

Winter storms can lead to power outages. Assemble a grab-and-go case of backup essentials like bowls, bottled water, leashes, pet first aid kit, 3 day supply of medications, and ample food.

Include photos of your pets in case you need to board them temporarily or identify lost pets. Rotate foods before they expire.

Watch Out for Antifreeze

Pets are attracted to the sweet taste of antifreeze, but ingesting just a small amount can be lethal. Use pet-safe antifreeze or seal containers tightly. Clean up any garage drips right away.

If your pet seems suddenly ill, ask your vet to test for antifreeze poisoning which must be treated urgently with intravenous alcohol to inhibit kidney failure.

Feel Free to Spoil Them!

Unsure if your pet needs an extra treat or comfy new bed? Remember that caution is kinder during cold snaps. Go ahead and spoil them a little!

Providing attentive care helps ensure your furry companions stay satisfied, healthy, and warm regardless of the weather outside. With these tips, you can both make it through winter in complete cozy comfort.

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