The Winter can be a tough time for animals, but with a few tips and precautions, you can winterize your pet to keep him safe and warm in the most frigid temperatures. Keeping your pet indoors may be the easiest solution, but your dog still needs his exercise, and your outdoor cat will want to keep her normal routine. Weathering Winter elements like snow, ice, and salt takes more than picking the trendiest pet parka; read on for a few simple and important safety tips for winterizing your pet.
If your pet must be kept outside:
•If your dog has an outdoor house, then make sure it's elevated and dry and preferably insulated so that drafts don't creep in. And, of course, furnish it with warm, comfortable bedding.
•Add a pet door to your garage so that he can have access to extra shelter, and provide him with a nice doggie bed in a clean, dry area. Also, make sure to keep poisonous chemicals like antifreeze and rodenticide out of his reach.
•Check periodically to make sure that your pet's water is not frozen, and use plastic bowls instead of metal ones, as your pet's tongue could freeze and stick to metal, à la Ralphie in A Christmas Story.
•This may sound crazy, but check under the hood of your car before you start the engine. Cats are known to seek shelter in car engines when temps are low. Usually banging the hood or honking the horn is enough to startle them out of their hiding places.
•Outdoor pets will require more calories in the Winter to produce body heat, so make sure to keep his food bowl more stocked than in the Summer.