Caring for pets during winter’s cold temperatures is not as easy as keeping an animal indoors. Depending on the pet, the climate outside and the length of season, certain daily tasks could become critical to the animal’s survival. For example, a Chihuahua cannot stay outside in two feet of snow; the animal would freeze to death. Below are tips to help different pets endure the winter months comfortably and stress-free.
Your dog’s breed will dictate how to care for it during the winter. Certain breeds such as Samoyeds, Alaskan Malamutes, Huskies and others have thick coats to protect them in winter’s cold temperatures. Short-haired breeds such as Dalmatians, Doberman Pincers and Basset Hounds cannot stay outdoors constantly when temperatures drop.
Take small and short-haired dogs outside when they need to go outside. Provide a sweater and perhaps footgear to protect delicate breeds from the cold. Once inside, dry the coat thoroughly with a warm towel and do not leave out drying the feet.
Talk to your veterinarian about your dog’s specific nutritional needs for wintertime. Ensure your dog has plenty of food and water; dehydration can occur both in winter and summer months.
Winter care can vary depending on the species of reptile that is kept as a pet. Most reptiles will brumate, or hibernate during cold weather. Provide your pet with the proper temperatures inside its environment and a place for it to brumate. Some reptiles will not eat much, if at all during this period. Do not allow temperatures to drop too drastically or quickly.
Because electrical power can fail during the winter months, keep an alternate power supply on hand. This can be a portable generator set up outside with power lines running to your pet’s area, solar panel and battery bank or a portable power supply available at various hardware stores.
Although birds cannot catch colds from humans or from cold air, ensure pet birds are not in the path of any drafts. Constant cold air can cause birds stress; this can have negative effects on the bird’s mental and physical health.
Monitor humidity levels and provide more if your bird’s species requires it. Tropical species need more humidity than desert species. Because birds are susceptible to C02 poisoning in lesser quantities than that which will poison humans, use only electric space heaters placed well away from the bird and flammable objects.
Check with your veterinarian for specific supplements, nutritional needs and temperatures for your avian friend.
In San Antonio, Texas, winter temperatures and weather can swing wildly from blistering heat to freezing rain, with everything possible in between. It is especially important for pet owners to pay attention to daily weather reports in order to properly care for indoor and outdoor pets.