Caitlin UltimoHolidays / Pet Parenting

Keeping Your Outdoor Pets Warm in Winter

How to Help Your Outdoor Pet Stay Warm

Making sure that your outdoor pets are happy and healthy when the temperature drops and the weather worsens can be a challenge. With the help of some expert winter safety advice, a little bit of planning, and some premium products, keeping pets safe and warm during the coldest months of the year can be easy.

Consider the Individual Pet

Your first step should be to consider whether you should upgrade your outdoor pets to furry roommates in the winter, according to Irith Bloom, Director of Training at The Sophisticated Dog, LLC. “Pets with short or no hair, or those that are very young or very old have a tougher time regulating their body temperature, which increases the odds that they will get frostbite or otherwise suffer from the cold,” says Bloom.

Give Them a Cozy Retreat

Pets that prefer to live in the great outdoors, no matter what the weather might be like, can always benefit from a comfy and secure place to rest their heads. The Precision Pet Products Extreme Outback Log Cabin Dog House is perfect for this, as it shelters your furry friend while bringing some rustic style to your backyard. Or if you prefer a more classic look, the Pet Zone Cozy Cottage Dog House might be just what you need to warm up cold dogs and cats.

“Animals need shelter from the cold, rain, snow and wind,” says Bloom. “You can’t rely on the animal’s fur alone to keep them warm enough, which is where a suitable pet or dog house comes in very handy.”

If you think your pet might benefit from some added warmth during the chilly holiday season, what you’re looking for could be the K&H Pet Products Original Lectro-Kennel Heated Pad & Cover. This heating pad is key to giving your pets the comfort and extra heat that they crave during the winter months.

Provide Easy Access to Food and Water

Even though you make sure that your outdoor dog or cat has plenty to eat and drink every day of the year, it’s even more essential during the winter months. Animals need even more calories than usual to help keep them warm, and they can become dehydrated just easily as they would during the summer months.

“Just be sure to set food and water bowls off of the ground to keep wild critters away,” Bloom recommends. “But don’t place them in your pet’s shelter, as they might tip over.” Spilled water will turn into ice, which will keep pets out of their winter shelter and cause a very chilly dog or a grumpy and cold cat, which is never good!

Keep Indoor Pets Bundled Up

If you are keeping your pets inside as the temperature drops, provide your pets with extra cozy warmth by upgrading their bedding to fleece or faux fur. The Frisco Round Bolster Bed is great for snuggling up in and snoozing the day away. Kitties can nestle into the Frisco Pet Bed Cave for a long, quiet catnap. Don’t forget to cover up your sleepy snuggler with a luxuriously warm blanket. Just be careful when you’re deciding where to put pet beds—make sure to keep pets away from space heaters to prevent serious burns or even house fires.

Prep Furry Friends for Going Out in the Cold

Pets that are going to be spending a good amount of time outdoors during cold weather rely on the warmth that their fur provides them. For winter safety and comfort, make sure that your dog or cat is properly groomed during the coldest months of the year.

“Brushing your pet’s coat out to keep it tangle-free is an excellent way to help keep them warm,” says Bloom. “Just be sure to avoid shaving or cutting your pet’s hair, since the full weight of their coat is needed to keep them nice and toasty.” You should also bathe your pets as little as possible during the winter to keep them from developing itchy skin.

But as Bloom noted, you can’t rely on their fur alone to keep them warm. So it’s still a good idea to give your pets the added comfort and warmth of cozy outerwear when they do venture outside for walks or holiday outings.

You can avoid ending up with a cold dog with a selection of comfy dog sweaters or dog coats. The stylish and water-resistant Frisco Dog & Cat Fair Isle Fleece Lined Hoodie, has a layer of insulation that seals in body heat. Or if you’re looking for something a bit more on the chic side, you can’t go wrong with the super-soft and fashionable Zack & Zoey Elements Mixed Faux Fur Dog Jacket with its plush hood and satin lining.

Avoid Outdoor Winter Safety Hazards

Whether you take your pets on short walks or let them roam the great outdoors this winter, here are some tips to make sure they stay safe and sound:

  • Regularly check paws for cracks or scratches from the dry winter weather to prevent infections.
  • Keep areas that pets frequent as clear of snow and ice as possible to avoid frostbite or injuries.
  • Check under your car before starting it to make sure no cats have crawled underneath the car or above the tires, looking for warmth.
  • Be on the lookout for antifreeze leaks or spills, as the sweet-tasting toxin is tasty, but deadly.