Cold weather is as difficult for animals as it is for people. When the weather is below freezing, the Lincoln County Humane Society highly recommends keeping your pets indoors. Being outdoors in freezing temperatures is a huge health risk to pets, and causes severe stress.
But if you must keep your pets outdoors, please follow these recommendations to help keep them safe and comfortable.
1. Feed high quality foods with essential fatty acids to help outdoor dogs and cats maintain a thick coat of fur in the winter. Some veterinarians even recommend adding canola oil, soybean oil, or butter or fish oils directly to the dry food a pet receives. Check with your local veterinarian to see what’s safe and most beneficial to your pet.
2. Increase food supply, especially protein, to help keep a healthy weight. If your pet is overweight, this is not recommended.
3. Provide a heated water bowl for pets. Eating snow is not enough to prevent dehydration and it will cause hypothermia more quickly because it drops your pet’s body temperature.
4. Don’t use metal bowls for food or water because your pet’s tongue may stick to the metal.
5. Check frequently to make sure the water and food aren’t frozen.
1. Make sure all pets, but especially, senior or arthritic pets have thick beds to in a warm area to keep their joints from hurting more.
2. Keep beds off of concrete or the floor.
3. Use straw for bedding instead of towels, blankets, and newspaper which retain cold and moisture.
4. Make sure your pet has an insulated house. It should be large enough for the animal to stand and turn but not too large or it won’t help conserve body heat.
5. The pet’s house should be kept a few inches off the ground and covered with straw. The opening should be facing away from the wind and there should be a plastic cover on the door.
1. Make sure your pet’s fur is free of matts and burrs. Matted fur won’t protect as well from the cold.
2. Don’t use regular road salt near your pet, make sure to have a pet safe variety to prevent injury and irritation on delicate paw pads.