Create Warming Stations InsideMake sure your dog has a couple of spots
For outdoor cats and dogs who prefer a little extra warmth, heated beds, like K&H Pet Products Deluxe Lectro-Soft outdoor heated pet bed, can be an option—but they may not be practical for every family, Dr. Romine says.
“Dog hair is a wonderful insulator, and many breeds have a double coat, with an outer layer of guard hairs to protect from the elements and a downy underlayer to contain heat,” she says. “Ideally, dogs will be allowed to grow their full coats, and dogs with routine exposure to the cold weather will adapt to a greater degree than those kept nearly exclusively indoors.”
Like many cats and dogs that live in rural locales, Miss Cleo the cat and her canine brother Sid spend their fair-weather days and nights patrolling my property’s acreage, hunting varmints, harassing lizards and insects and taking long naps in the warm sunshine. When the cold weather comes, however, my 6-year-old mixed-breed calico and 3-year-old terrier hunker down in the barn together where it’s safe, cozy and out of the rain and snow.
“‘Too cold’ depends on the breed, age and size of the pet,” she explains. “For example, small dogs will become colder sooner, and older dogs will have a harder time maintaining their body heat. Breed will also dictate their body type, body fat and haircoat. Pets will also be less tolerant of the cold in wet weather. In general, pets ideally should have access to indoor shelter below about 50 degrees [Fahrenheit], so they can choose a warmer environment if they are getting cold.”
“It is important that they do not allow moisture in,” she says. “This may mean that they need to be raised to prevent mud and flooding, and checked routinely during rain and snow to monitor for leaks. Insulation is also important; clean, dry straw can be a good base, as well as blankets and/or beds to allow for nesting.”
Provide Plenty of Food and Water
Colder weather means more calories will be burned to keep warm. Make sure your dog has access to plenty of food and extra water. If possible, you may want to warm up their water over the stove.
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