19 November 2008

Cold Weather Tips for Pets

Due to the onset of cold weather, the Greater Birmingham Humane Society would like to remind pet owners that the most comfortable place for your pet is inside. If your pet cannot live inside, here are some tips to keep them safe:

- If you use a dog house be sure to face the doorway out of the wind or cover it to reduce draft. The temperature may not be freezing, but the wind-chill can still kill.

- If you have a garage, use it for the colder months to protect your dog from extreme temperatures.

- Dogs eat more in the winter, be sure to supply plenty of food. Keeping warm requires a lot of energy. Check water bowls every morning to crack the ice.

- Allow plenty of bedding. Dogs will ‘nest’ in whatever material is available to keep warm.

- If you have more than one dog, buy a dog house big enough for them to sleep together to keep warm.

- Certain breeds with short hair or naturally low body fat reserves are not suitable to live in cold temperatures. For example greyhounds do not retain enough weight to keep warm outside.

- Heating pads and raised dog beds can be purchased to make your dog more comfortable.

- It’s never too late to train your dog to live inside. Remember, dogs are social creatures and prefer to live within a family group.

- Cats, much like the smaller dogs, often do not have the body fat or thick fur coats to keep warm during cold weather. If you permit your cat to go outdoors or live outdoors completely, it is especially important to provide adequate shelter during cold weather.

- If your cat is kept outdoors throughout the year, make sure you provide increased amounts of food during the winter months and check the water bowl daily.

- Your cat may also appreciate a warm place to get out of the weather – i.e. a small dog house with appropriate bedding or access to your garage.

- If your cat is typically kept indoors, please remember that the shock of the temperature change can be very detrimental to your cat’s health.

[Source: NBC13.com]