How to Winterize Your Pets

When winter and cold weather knock at our doors, it is time to make sure that our pets are safe and comfortable outdoors. I have a dog and two rabbits that live outside, and although it is improbable that it will be very cold in San Antonio, Texas, it will be cold enough for the need to take some essential precautions that will ensure the wellbeing of my animals. These are some of the tips I can give you so your pets will be all right outside in the winter time:

Make sure they will have a proper refuge outside; it is time to check out the house for your dog, making sure its roof has not leaks and that it is properly isolated against cold and rain. You can repaint it, with a good outdoor paint that protects the material. Buy a good blanket to put in the floor of the dog house, you can find special kennel blankets that work very good in the cold weather. Do not use electric blankets for outdoors, if it rain and water leaks inside your dog’s house, he can get electrocuted.

Many dogs don’t like to sleep in dog’s houses. Mine loves to sleep under the bushes. What I do in the winter is to install a provisional canopy over the bushes, so he will be protected against the rain.

I don’t recommend placing your dog, cat or small animal in a garage with fumes, or a laundry room, because the chemicals can damage their respiratory systems. It is not good for them either to have them in a warmed up shed and let them out several times, because the temperature changes can be fatal.

My rabbits live outside in a hutch. If you have small animals living outdoors, make sure their refuge is water proof and resistant to extreme cold. It is true that rabbits like the cold better than heat, but any extreme weather can be very harmful for them. The hutch or refuge for small animals must have an area where they can be comfortable and wormer, something like a drawer or a box inside the hutch. In the day time, I let my rabbits go play in an enclosed playpen outside as well, and in the winter I apply a sheet of tart to make a sort of a roof, to protect them from rain. You can find playpen covers for sale in the pet stores.

It is very important that you don’t let down your guard about giving water to your pets in the winter. Although is not hot, animals need to drink constantly, so make sure they have fresh water, and that the water is not frozen. Generally pets eat more at the beginning of the winter, because they need extra calories to help them to keep themselves warm, so make sure they have plenty of food. You can add some vitamins, to strengthen their immune system and protect them against diseases.

In the coldest winter days and nights, when the temperatures drop and it is freezing, you should bring your outdoor pets inside. But find a place far away from the heat, because it will make them very uncomfortable, or even seek.

Common sense and proper care is all you need to have your pets perfectly safe outdoors.

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