Keep Your Pets Warm This Winter
Follow tips to keep pet safe and happy
January 15, 2013
Temperatures are dropping in Central Florida, but how do we know when it is too cold for our pets? Actually, in our area, it is rare that the cold becomes truly dangerous for healthy pets. However, it is still good to know a few tips to prepare for that occasional cold spell or a winter trip up north.
While there is not a specific temperature that guarantees that your pet will be safe or unsafe, research from the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine suggests that pets typically kept indoors will start to become uncomfortable when temperatures are below 45 degrees. This also applies to kittens or puppies, elderly pets, or sick pets.
Even for pets acclimated to living outdoors, extra precautions must be taken when temperatures drop below the freezing point of 32 degrees. At this point, frostbite is a concern, along with hypothermia.
There are several ways to help pets stay warm in the winter. For cats, it is most important to provide adequate shelter. Living indoors is ideal for cats in the winter, but if this is not possible, there are alternative options. Cat houses or condos can be constructed to offer protection from the elements, and can be lined with rugs or blankets to help the cats stay warm. A simple bale of straw can also be used to provide the cat with insulation from the cold. Always make sure the cats have access to unfrozen water.
For dogs, there are many options. For indoor dogs, you may just be looking for extra protection on walks. Dog sweaters or coats can be helpful, especially for short-haired dogs. Long-haired dogs typically do not need the extra layer of protection except in extreme cold temperatures, but regular grooming is still important to allow the dog's coat to insulate properly.
For dogs that sleep outside in a dog house or in a cold area, many of the same tips from the cats apply. Protection from the elements is important, and having a blanket, rug, or heated pad will keep your dog far more comfortable than a cold, hard surface. Again, make sure your dogs have access to water.
For pets that spend time in the cold, larger meals are a good idea. Animals typically will burn calories while trying to stay warm, so the extra food keeps them healthy and full of energy. While we hope for a beautiful winter here in Daytona Beach, you and your pets can now be better prepared for a few chilly days.