Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Winter Care for Pets

By Deb Shenkle
AKC German Shepherd Dog Breeder

As the late autumn days and nights  draw ever closer to winter,   it's important to keep in mind the needs of our favorite furry friends. It's really getting cold outside especially at night so it's time to think about providing adequate winter care for pets. Providing an adequate winter shelter is essential for our pets  to stay warm and healthy throughout the coldest of this winter season.

We may think that  the fur coats on dogs and cats will keep them plenty warm, but that is only true to a certain extent. When the thermometer starts dropping into the 40's and below  or if  there is a cold rain or snow coming down, our pets need more than just their own furry coats to keep them warm and protected.

I have yet to figure out why some pet owners will leave their dogs and cats out in the pouring down cold rain/snow or leave them out at night shivering and miserable with absolutely no shelter. Dogs and cats do have feelings and get cold. They can easily die of exposure or freeze to death. Puppies and kittens are especially at risk from the outdoor elements.

Most pet owners are very sensitive to their pet's needs and take wonderful care of them. However, I am  simply amazed at how many pet owners just give little thought to their pets needs. I suppose many just think that a pet's fur coat is adequate enough to keep them warm and protected.

Providing an insulated pet house will help them out tremendously. Outfitting it with  a heating pad made just for pet houses will provide some extra warmth for  your pets.  If  they spend alot of time outside in the cold,  providing an added wind break such as a shed, garage or outbuilding will also give your pets some added protection from the cold. If your dog is spending time in a kenneled area, consider adding a windbreak and cover for more protection.

If you have a safe place available to hang a heat lamp above your pets outdoor sleeping area it will really  make their life more comfortable and tolerable during the cold winter months. Remember, that even with all of these protections in place, in some areas there will be  days and nights it will be just too cold for your pets to be outside for more than just a few minutes at a time. So having a safe place indoors for them to hang out is a must.

Many pet owners also find that using paw covers will help protect sensitive paw pads from frostbite. And what about those cute sweaters that I see some of our canine friends wearing?

Besides adequate warmth and shelter, our pets also need plenty of food and fresh water  available.  Installing an inexpensive water tank heater into their outdoor water source will ensure that they have plenty of fresh unfrozen water available at all times.

I'm sure that many of you have additional winter care for pets tips that I would love here about. Please feel free to leave your winter care for pets tips in the comment section of this blog.

Have a great late autumn day! Deb


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