Ways to keep your furry friends safe, warm in the winter

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It’s starting to (finally) get colder outside and as you unpack the winter clothes and switch on your heaters, it is important to remember some steps to take to help keep your pets warm this season.

The Houston Humane Society and the Houston SPCA have put out some steps you should take to keep your furry friends safe.

  • Keep pets indoors, especially at night since there is no sun to keep them warm. If your pet is in the garage, make sure to give them a blanket and keep them away from any drifts.
  • Provide plenty of food and water for your outdoor pets. They need to consume between 25 to 50% more calories than usual because the cold tends to deplete energy. Remember that your pet’s tongues can stick to metal bowl and make sure the water is not frozen.
  • If it’s wet outside, dry your pets after a walk or time outside. If they are wet, they are more prone to getting sick.
  • Designate an area inside where your pet can use potty pads since it can be challenging for pets to go outside in the cold. This is especially pertinent to puppies or senior dogs as they may have more difficulty.
  • While not all pets need sweaters, it can help some animals, particularly small, short-haired breeds, stay warm.
  • Do not leave your pets inside your cars. This is a given on hot days, but many people forget that your car on a cold day can quickly drop in temperature and become an icebox.
  • Keep cats indoors during the winter as they may take shelter inside the hood of your vehicle to stay warm, which could result in injury or death. If you live in an area with strays or other outdoor cars, bang on the hood of your car before starting it to give the cat a chance to get out.
  • Be sure to use pet-friendly antifreeze. Pets can be attracted to the sweet smell and taste of antifreeze, and consumption can be lethal.
  • Make sure any outdoor farm animal like horses have access to a barn or any three-sided structure with a roof so they can escape the cold. Blankets can also help keep those animals warm, especially in wet or freezing weather.
  • Frequently check water troughs and buckets to ensure the animal’s water is not frozen and provide access to grain and hay if no grazing is available. Feed your horse unlimited forage during extreme cold to help them increase and regulate their body temperatures.

About the Author:

Daniela Sternitzky-Di Napoli has been a digital news editor at KPRC 2 since 2018. She is a published poet and has background in creative writing and journalism. Daniela has covered events like Hurricane Harvey and the Astros World Series win. In her spare time, Daniela is an avid reader and loves to spend time with her two miniature dachshunds.