Keeping pets warm in winter does not have to be difficult. However, the cold winter weather presents many challenges in keeping your pet cat or dog warm. Just like humans, pets are susceptible to extremely cold temperatures and can suffer from frostbite, hypothermia, and slipping on ice.

With a little planning and forethought, there is much that you can do to keep your pet warm in the winter. Even for dogs that generally spend a lot of time outside, you can make them much warmer with the right preparation.

Keeping Your Pets Warm in Winter

First of all, it’s good to make sure and arrange for an annual examination for your pet. Your local vet can spot underlying health issues that may make the effects of cold worse in your pet. For example, arthritis can cause your pet to feel the cold more than they used to. Also, older pets may be more susceptible to cold weather. Other underlying health problems that can make your pet feel the cold more are diabetes, heart disease, and kidney disease.

Keep your pet warm

You should also take into account your pet’s fur. Obviously, short-haired cats and dogs will be less tolerant to the cold than long-haired pets. So, if you are going for walks, a dog sweater or coat can help to keep your canine friend warm. Remember to take into consideration the wind chill factor also. Many pet owners decide not to clip their pet’s fur before winter, but to let it grow to give their pet some more natural insulation.

Have good shelter

If possible, keep pets indoors during extremely cold weather. If that isn’t possible, the American Red Cross society has some helpful recommendations to keep dogs warm outside in the snow. They say you should have a kennel that is a few inches off the ground and it should be insulated. Make sure that the enclosure is not facing the wind or is designed in such a way that wind doesn’t blow directly into the enclosure. The roof should be watertight.

Adequate food

We all expend more energy to keep ourselves warm in the cold and dogs are the same. You should provide about 10-15% more food to give your pet the extra calories that they need if they spend a lot of time outdoors.

Monitor pets

Indoor dogs still need enough exercise during the winter months. If you let them play in the yard or you take them for walks, remember the dangers that extreme cold can bring.

Be careful of ice because elderly pets or dogs with arthritis can slip and break a bone on icy surfaces. If the temperature is below freezing, don’t let your pet out for more than 10-15 minutes. If you notice that your pet starts to shiver or whine, try to warm them up or get them to a heat source quickly.

It is fairly easy to keep your pets warm during the wintertime. With some planning and a few precautions, you can keep your pets safe and warm and help prevent any injury.