Don't leave pets outdoors when the temperature drops. To keep warm when it's necessary to be outside, short-coated dogs may feel more comfortable wearing a sweater during walks.
Be sure to feed your pets adequately in the winter. Pets who spend significant time outdoors on walks need more to eat in the winter, since keeping warm depletes energy. Be sure their water is kept fresh.
Use plastic bowls instead of metal for food and water that is served outside. You don't want your pet's tongue getting stuck to his or her dish in icy temps!
Keep your pet's feet clean. Salt and other chemicals used to melt snow and ice can irritate paw pads — and may even be harmful if ingested. Wipe feet with a damp towel before your dog or cat gets the chance to lick them!
Make your doghouse comfortable. If your dog does happen to live outside in a doghouse, be sure it's dry and draft-free, and has ample space for the pup to sit and lie down comfortably.
The floor should be raised a few inches off the ground and covered with cedar shavings or straw. The doorway should be covered, and the house should be turned to face away from the wind.
Remember, do your best to keep outdoor cats and dogs inside, especially on those brutally cold days. After all, it is the holiday season, meant for spending time with those you love — both with two and four legs!
Q: What should I use for bedding? I’ve heard that old blankets aren’t a good idea.
A: You heard right. Blankets and quilts are alright for people inside heated homes but outside, they trap moisture that can make your dog damp, chilly and uncomfortable. A better bedding is fresh clean hay or straw. They allow moisture to evaporate, retain warmth, are biodegradable and cost only a few dollars a bale. The best of these is “salt marsh” hay. All are readily available from farm supply and feed stores, stables, or local farmers. When buying straw or hay, use your nose! It should smell fresh and pleasant like dried grass clippings. Avoid any that smells strongly of mold or mildew. Spread the bedding generously in the dog house, four-to-five inches thick, and replace as needed.
Be a Responsible Pet Owner or Don't Be a Pet Owner at All. If it is too COLD for You - It's too COLD for your Pet
SPCA is asking dog owners not to leave their pets outside in frigid temperatures.
"It's absolutely preposterous to leave a dog -- particularly a short-haired breed like a pit bull -- outside in this weather," SPCA official Eileen Drever said.
Dogs & Cats left outside can succumb to frostbite and hypothermia, which can be fatal or debilitating.
"For the love of your pet, don't leave him outside in this weather," Drever said.
She said leaving dogs outside without proper shelter is an offense under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act in Canada.
Already since November 20, the SPCA has seized a number of dogs being kept outside without adequate shelter.
The society opposes the notion of keeping dogs or cats exclusively out of doors, saying they can suffer physical and psychological harm. They may become agitated from such horrid living conditions and it can possibly change their natural demeanor.
Don't hesitate to call your local SPCA if you witness pet neglect or endangerment this Winter.