As the temperatures drop, you do your best to protect your home and family, but what about your pets? In winter, we like to think our furry friends are well-insulated against the cold. While they may be more comfortable than we are, they can still suffer from too much exposure to the elements. To ensure that they stay safe, warm, and happy all season long, just follow these basic guidelines:
When it comes to outerwear…
We layer on the jackets, scarfs, hats, and gloves during winter, but your pets already have a coat—right? Well, yes and no. Of course, cats and dogs have a layer of fur meant to insulate them against the cold, but it doesn’t work in all temperatures. Once we get below freezing, it doesn’t really matter how much fur they have! Plus, think of all their features that aren’t covered, like feet, nose, and eyes. When precipitation enters the mix, pretty much all bets are off. Fur loses most of its insulating effects once it gets wet, so a little something extra wouldn’t hurt.
While some animals will tolerate additional layers like jackets, sweaters, and booties, some will not. Let your pets decide what they’re comfortable with! Although that sweater seems like a good idea right after a winter grooming session, if they’re just going to get agitated and try to rip it off, it’s not really worth it. Cats are especially notorious for avoiding any type of pet clothing, which is okay. It just means they’ll have to spend less time outside this season.
And more importantly supervision…
Whether they’re outside a little or a lot, it’s very important that you supervise them this winter. When you have the perfect fenced-in area for them to play, you naturally want to let them out on their own. Unfortunately, without proper supervision, you won’t notice if your pets are showing signs of cold or sickness. Even with extra layers, they could still be in trouble if they try to take them off and/or they get wet in the process. Depending on the temperatures, it doesn’t take long to catch frostbite.
So, try to take them for walks where you can monitor them directly. Or, if your pets are more free range, just set reminders to check on them at regular intervals. Be especially careful with older, younger, or already ill pets who can feel the effects of winter more acutely than the rest of us. Don’t forget to keep shelter accessible. If you don’t have a doggy/cat door that will allow them to come and go as they please, then try to set up comfortable places for them in outdoor areas like your garage, shed, or patio. Clean bedding and little bit of shelter from the cold should keep them safe until you’re able to bring them back inside. Feel to contact your veterinarian for more in-depth and personalized recommendations.
Hopefully, this year our winter will be mild, so your pets can continue to take advantage of your fencing. Just take extra precautions to protect them this season. As a general rule of thumb, remember that if it’s too cold outside for you—it’s probably too cold for them, too. It may just take them a little longer to realize that. If you need any help repairing, maintaining, or installing a new pet-safe fence, keep us in mind!