We know to raise the thermostat or put on a sweater
when we’re feeling the seasonal chill, but it’s easy sometimes to forget our pets that must often bear winter’s burden. To ensure your pet’s comfort and safety, we’ve rounded up some tips on how to keep them warm and happy when the temperature drops.
1. Check for cats under the hood before starting the car
Your outdoor cat or neighborhood strays might curl up around a car engine while seeking a warm place to stay. Be sure to give a quick look under the hood before your morning commute!
2. Watch for furnaces, radiators and fireplaces
Be careful of heat sources if your pets can get close to them. The obvious result is that a pet might burn itself, but you also run the risk of having a radiator or space heater knocked over, which can cause a fire or other emergencies.
3. Wipe pets’ feet when they come indoors
During winter, there’s all sorts of stuff on the ground that can cause discomfort for your pet: ice, rock salt and ice melt can get caught on the pads of their feet. This can cause their pads to go raw or become chapped, so when bringing an animal indoors, make sure it’s not carrying any debris with it.
4. Help arthritic pets out
We all know the trope of the elderly man or woman who can sense the weather in their bones. Older pets with arthritis may be similarly affected by the weather, which can cause their joints to become stiff. Make some changes around the house to better accommodate them so they don’t have to jump or climb anywhere. And of course, keep a watchful eye!
5. Keep hazardous chemicals out of the yard
You’ll commonly find chemicals like rodent poison and antifreeze used during the winter. These are toxic chemicals and, in the case of antifreeze, can taste pretty good and sweet for a pet. If you have outdoor pets, opt out of laying rat poison and clean up any antifreeze puddles you find on your premises
6. Keep your pets inside
This is obvious, but needs to be stressed even for pets that enjoy being outdoors, such as cats. Not only can your pet freeze outside, but animals may also lose their sense of smell in snowy and icy conditions–which means your free-to-roam pet might not find its way home in harsh conditions..
7. If your pet must remain outside, give it good shelter
If there’s a reason why your pet absolutely must remain outside, follow these guidelines in building a shelter to ensure it stays comfortable:
keep it dry and draft free
it ought to be big enough to lie comfortably in, but smug enough to trap heat
keep it raised to ensure it stays dry
cover the entrance with something durable–like plastic–so wind can’t get inside
8. Keep an eye on the water bowl
It’s important to be sure that your pet gets enough water throughout the day. Hopefully your home isn’t so cold that the water can freeze–although this is something to look for in outdoor bowls. But be sure to replenish often, because your animal’s keeping warm will deplete water.
9. Set up a warm place for sleeping
Your pet will enjoy someplace cozy to sleep, too! Setting up a basket of pillows and blankets can give your pet a safe, warm place to lay its head.
10. Go easy on your puppy
Frigid temperatures are harsh on puppies, and it’s possible that yours might have increased difficulty being housebroken in the uncomfortable weather. Go easy on it, or consider paper training as an alternative.