Keeping Your Pets Warm and Toasty in the Winter
Written by: Jane Williams
Summer’s officially over, though the good news is that you can look forward to warm toasty days indoors in the company of your much loved dog or cat. As noted in Dogs Life, in past decades, pets used to have separate living spaces from humans. Today, however, our homes may be smaller, but we still wish to have our pets close by, so we can receive their love but also give them the care they deserve. Although you can still enjoy walks and daily exercise outdoors (except on very cold days), it is important to take a few steps to ensure our dogs are comfortable indoors, even during the coldest days. Follow these tips and keep your pet safe and sound all winter.
Keeping Home Interiors Warm
Set your thermostat at between 69 and 72 degrees in the winter. If your dog or cat is large and has a very thick coat, opt for the lower of the two figures, raising it slightly for older or short-coated pets. During the day, open curtains so that your dog or cat can bask in the sun. The above is only a general guide. In the end, the temperature may need to vary depending on your dog’s breed. For instance, brachycephalic dogs suffer more in the heat, while dogs with fine or very short fur may benefit from extra warmth.
Portable Heating for Walks and Visits
If the weather drops to 40ºF, it could be too cold for a pet, but even at 30ºF, you should exercise caution. Sweaters and booties can help keep your dog warm, but as a general rule, if it is too cold for you outside, it is also too cold for your dog. If you are going for a walk and visiting a shop, restaurant, or friend’s home with your dog or cat, pack a portable heating unit in your backpack. These heaters are lighter and battery-operated, and they can help you control the temperature more, even if you are away from home.
Comfy Bedding for a Cozy Sleep
Bedding should change in the winter and summer. Lighter, finer beds work well when temperatures are high but in the winter, beds should ideally be made of thick memory foam to provide support, especially for older pets with joint conditions such as osteoarthritis. Many dogs and cats love burrowing under blankets. For them, an igloo bed or a soft down blanket will keep help them feel warm and secure. A heat pad is great for the coldest of days.
Your pet may need a few extra calories to keep warm in the winter so speak to your vet about this and other possible antidotes to the cold. By providing thicker bedding and extra heat, you will help Fido or Kitty love the indoors as much as the rest of your family. Finally, remember to pack winter essentials when heading outside to visit friends and family with your four-pawed friend.