December Project: How to Prepare your Pet for Winter

Our furry little friends are part of the family. As winter approaches, make sure these family members are as cared for and prepared as the rest of us. Take shelter, food, water and comfort into consideration for your outdoor pet to ensure they can appreciate the joys the winter season brings. Think about these to safely prepare your outdoor pet for winter weather.

Shelter is a requirement for any outdoor pet. Keeping them out of the rain, wind and any other outside elements is a must for their health and safety. Allow adequate room for your pet to get up and move around in addition to a covered doghouse. Lay down a nice pile of straw for your pet to get comfy on, and refresh as necessary. Straw is not only cheap, but will stay clean and fresh longer than the more weedy hay. Be sure to shovel around your pet’s doghouse so they don’t get snowed-in.

Outdoor pets need to have some extra food each day to help keep up their strength. Not so much that they become obese, but enough to help them generate some extra body heat. Refill their bowl twice a day and while they may not always eat it all, they know the extra food is there should they need it. Be sure to occasionally give your furry friend a treat to let them know you love them! 

A heated dish is a must in a cold climate. Ice can form quickly in a regular water dish and your pets need to keep well hydrated in order to survive the winter months. Check the water dish two or three times daily and if you notice ice forming on the water immediately change it. If you plan on using a heated water dish, be sure to purchase one that is bottom heavy to lessen the chance your pet will knock it over.
Your pet is a member of your family; don’t just leave them out there with nothing but straw and snow. Some pets love an old blanket and it will be a great way to help them stay warm. Also, bring some of their toys outside so they feel comfortable even when the weather is anything but. You wouldn’t want to be put in a smaller house on your lawn without your iPod, would you?
Tips & Warnings
*Keep an eye on your pet’s feet. If ice crystals are forming on tender paws help him or her warm them gently and slowly with either a soft towel or bringing him or her in to warm up awhile.
*Continue to walk your pet during winter weather. Bundle yourself up and make sure that your pet doesn’t over exert him or herself. The exercise will help keep their circulation up and increase their stamina.
*Keep your pets’ immunizations up to date. Winter weather can be harsh on an outdoor pet and lower their resistance to disease. If your pet seems ill or out of sorts, take him or her to the veterinarian and make sure he or she is all right immediately.

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