The temperature is dropping, prompting residents to stay indoors and crank up the heat to stay warm, but what can outdoor pets do to stay warm? Suzanne Crider with the Starke County Humane Society has a few tips to keep your roaming pets safe and warm this winter.
For those who have a doghouse or other structure for their animals, Crider said it’s important not to make it too big. She said it’s best to have it big enough that the animal can get in and comfortably lay down and stretch out, but any bigger and it becomes harder for the animal’s body heat to keep it warm.
She said it’s also a good idea not to use blankets, carpets or throw rugs, because when they get wet they can draw moisture in and make the animal even colder. Straw is the best choice, she said, as it wicks the dampness away from the animal. Crider advised against using hay, as it can be very irritating for the animal.
One of the most important things, Crider said, is ensuring the animal has access to enough unfrozen water.
“If you have an outside dog and you don’t have a heated dish, sometimes it’s easier to just have a couple different dishes that you can fill one up with water in the morning, let them have a drink, then take another one out there in the afternoon and bring the other one in to thaw out and keep trading your dishes around because people don’t stop and think how important it is for them to have water,” said Crider.
Crider said that while an animal can eat snow to get water, the cold snow can contribute to hypothermia and cause issues.
Finally, Crider said if you have animals that come in and out, make sure you wipe any salt off their paws because it can irritate their digestive system if they clean themselves off.