My Cosy Pet – Keeping pets cosy and safe outside

My Cosy Pet – Keeping pets cosy and safe outside

How to keep your pet safe and healthy when they are outside in the cold:

  • Get them an outdoor heated pet house
  • Get the right size of dog house – it should keep the warm in
  • Give your pet regular and sometimes warm meals
  • Heated water bowl
  • Don’t shave or trim your pets fur during winter months
  • Bath your pet indoors in warm water
  • Ensure they are stimulated with interaction from people or other animals
  • Keep them sheltered from cold winds

My Cosy Pet have written this article to inform you all about how to keep your pet safe outside. On our site you can find reviews of pet houses so you can find the purrfect outdoor pet house for your fur baby.

Dog in snow

 

What would my dog think about being outside?

Dogs have a fur coat. So, for most dogs, being inside the house with a blasting heater or being in a locked car in the direct sun are unpleasant experiences. The type of dog will also determine whether the dog fairs well in certain types of climates.

Some dogs—like Chihuahuas—are not made for the outdoors when it comes to colder temperatures. Therefore, if you live in a state where the weather gets cold during the winter, you would not have your Chihuahua outside. If you had a Siberian Husky—a dog that is made for the outside but not the heat—your dog would not do well outside in a southern state where it gets very hot in the summer.

Another thing to consider is how we have raised our dogs in the environments where we live. For example, if you have a Siberian Husky that you have not made accustomed to the outdoors, then your Husky will not do well outside. However, if your Husky is used to being outdoors, then it’s pointless to bring this breed in when it’s cold because the dog is accustomed to cold weather. It causes confusion to have a dog that is made for the cold kept inside for a while and then thrust back into the cold when company arrives. This sudden shift is not good for your pet because you have made the pet accustomed to the indoor climate.

This is the type of inconsistencies that dogs have a problem getting used to. It is recommended that if you have a dog that is used to the outdoors, the only time you should make them come into the house is when they are sick. The following information gives an overview of why it’s beneficial for pets made for the outdoors to live outdoors.

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Why Keep Pets Outside

Owners must take into consideration that some pets are not going to function well outdoors. If you have a pet that spends most of its time indoors, then this pet has the potential for experiencing frostbite and hypothermia when an owner tries to make this type of pet live outdoors in the cold.

Weak dogs/cats will need to be kept warm when it’s cold outside—especially when it’s night time. Dogs that are older are considered weak dogs because their bodies don’t produce adequate heat due to a slower metabolism.  Dogs/cats that are pregnant will require the warmth of the doors before, during and after delivering her puppies/kittens because the cold air is too harsh for the little ones to endure.

kitten and mother

Different between summer and winter when your pet lives in an outdoor pet house

In the Winter:

Dogs can warm themselves, but this may not be adequate heat for those that live in an outdoor pet house.  We must be reminded that a lot of dogs feel just as cold as we do in the winter—especially those dogs that are not made for the outdoors and those that have been accustomed to indoor climates.  However, there are some dog breeds that are raised to withstand the colder temperatures better than humans can. So, when determining the heating needs of your pet, keep in mind the type of dog you have and the lifestyle your dog has been living before determining your dog will do well living outdoors during the cold months.

Suncast dog houseFrontPet Cat House
Suncast DH350 Dog HouseThe K&H Lectro Outdoor heated pet bedFrontPet Cat House
$87.99$73.49$54.99
Review: 4*Review: 5*Review: 4*
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In the Summer:

It’s unfortunate that there is an average of five pets a day that have to be admitted to the animal hospital due to complications from warmer temperatures: from incidents of dogs being left in hot cars to dogs or dogs overheating while being in a car with the windows down even while in the shade.

The following tips should help you in maintaining a safer environment for your dogs and other pets you may have:

  • Under no circumstances should you ever leave your pet in a car—even if the windows are down and the car is parked in a shaded area
  • Get into the habit of having ice cubes as a frequent treat for your pet when he or she is inside the house.
  • There’s nothing nicer than having a nice paddling pool for your dog to play in and cool off when needed.
  • If your pet is old (especially cats), then they might be susceptible to dehydration. We cannot stress enough the importance of having consistent access to clean drinking water for your pet all through the day. It is recommended you use a large bowl that is filled to the top with clean water.
  • The early morning or evening hours are the perfect times to take your dog out for a walk during the summer when the temperature is a little bit cooler. Also while out for your walk, keep the games simple so as to not cause exhaustion while playing.
  • Dogs and cats that are light in color are susceptible to sunburns a lot easier than dogs with darker shades of fur. To prevent your pet from getting skin cancer from frequent sunburns, make sure light-colored pets are kept inside when the daytime sunlight is at its peak. Pet-formulated (or nontoxic human) sunscreen can also be used on your pet—especially near the ears and nose where they are likely to get sunburned the most.
  • To prevent pets that have a lot of fur from overheating, you may need to keep them groomed and trimmed frequently. Make sure you consult with a professional groomer before deciding to have your pet groomed.
  • Smaller animals like guinea pigs and rabbits fare better in hotter weather when their runs and hutches are located in places where there’s lots of shade to keep cool. Also, make sure they have plenty of clean drinking water throughout the day by topping up their supply whenever it runs low.

 

 

Different Breeds of Dogs and Being Outside

There are dog breeds that prefer the outside even when it’s cold, but which ones?

dogs that shouldn't sleep outsideUnfortunately, a breed with a short coat, like a Doberman, a Chihuahua and a Greyhound will have a lot of problems with dealing with cold temperatures outside. So, whenever you need to take these dogs outside, try to make sure they have on a cot or doggy jumper.

For those who have sled dogs with thick fur coats, it is recommended you allow them to stay outside. Samoyeds, Alaskan Malamutes, Siberian Huskies, and other sled dogs have no problem being outside during the cold season, and that’s why many Artic sled dog drivers allow their dogs to stay outside. These dogs can run the 1100-mile long Iditarod like it’s nothing when kept outside. So, we can deduce that these dogs are fine with being outdoors and are not being mistreated because they are outdoors.

If you have working livestock guard dogs, they will fare better in the wintertime if they are kept outdoors. It negatively affects some dogs’ health to have them alternating between going outdoors and indoors. Dogs like Komondors, Kuvaszes, Caucasian Ovcharkas, Great Pyrenees and Anatolian Shepherds usually fall into this category of dogs. To prevent drastic changes in their health, it is wise to just keep them outside always and have a dry barn area in case of inclement weather. In most cases, these types of dogs won’t use the area unless they want to get out of the weather.

Tibetan Mastiffs, Newfoundlands, Saint Bernards and Bernese Mountain Dogs tend to do well outside. So, if you are going to be in the habit of keeping these types of dogs in the house, then you need to be consistent in doing so and not just do it only when you feel it’s too cold. Once these dogs have gotten accustomed to being indoors, it becomes more difficult for them to survive being outdoors in the cold.

Other things you should remember to do when keeping your dog outside:

Shelter:

You should always have shelter available for your dog even if they hardly use it except for rainy, snowy and windy weather.

  • Size of the dog house – Bigger does not always mean better when it comes to dog houses. In the winter, the house needs to be big enough for the dog to move and stretch but small enough so his own body temperature can help heat up the house. Also, the addition of wall insulation will also help the house retain its heat.
  • Flooring of outdoor pet house – the floor of the dog house should not be directly on the ground. A house with an elevated floor is a must for the ideal dog house. If the floor is not already elevated, then you can always place a wooden pallet under the house to raise the house up from the ground.
  • Chilly air streams – If your dog is indoors, do not keep their kennel near a door. If outside, do not have the kennel in the path of an air stream.

Here is the Suncast DH350 Dog House. It has great reviews and seems to be one of the best value dog houses on the market.

 

Food:

 

dog eating

Your dog should always have access to substantial amounts of food to maintain optimum health. For outdoor dogs, this means a regular meal regimen with an increase in calorie intake and a diet high in fat to maintain adequate warmth and energy during the winter months. However, this does not mean you should be overfeeding the dog. Your dog should receive his meals in moderation as usual.

If you find that your dog is less active when it’s cold outside, then his or her calorie consumption would be reduced from the normal amount instead of being increased. For dogs that stay indoors when it’s winter, their diet remains the same. If in doubt about dietary changes during the winter season, you should always consult your vet to determine what specific metabolic needs your dog has.

Water:

Water provision throughout the course of the day is a necessity for your dog’s health. And despite the controversial statements about dogs dying of dehydration because their water froze during the night, you can rest assured that your dog is not going to die if his water freezes during the night while he is mostly asleep anyway. However, there are some things you can do to prevent your dog’s water from freezing during the night.

For starters, you can invest in a heated bowl for your dog to use while outside. Also, you can use an electric water heater. Although heated bowls and water heaters solve the water freezing problem, they do not take the place of your dog getting adequate stimulation.

Here is the K&H thermal-Bowl outdoor heated water bowl. It is rated 4.5* from 1,181 customer reviews and at ¢19.88 is well priced.

Grooming and Hygiene:


You should always make sure you groom your dog regularly. Never shave, trim or cut your dog’s hair in the winter because they need the full weight of their coats to help maintain the proper body temperature. Make sure your grooming schedule is regular enough to keep your dog’s hair from getting matted, which significantly decreases the ability of your dog’s fur to keep him insulated. If your dog suffers from a lot of dandruff issues in the dry, wintry weather, regular grooming will help provide relief from that.

When you bathe your dog, make sure you do it indoors and allow the dog to dry completely before letting them back outside. If you must decrease the number of baths you give your dog, then do so. For some breeds, it may be safe to not bathe them at all. Either way, just remember that dogs take a lot longer to dry when the weather is cold outside. So, make sure your dog is completely dry before you send your pet back outside to prevent the potential for catching colds.

If your dog is sensitive to wintry weather, shorter warm water baths and a very quick drying off are recommended. Do not bathe dogs in cold water because it makes it difficult to for their bodies to warm up.

The only part of your dog that should see trimming is the hair around the paw pads. Trimming the hair in this area prevents the footpads from experiencing ice buildup and snow balling. Always check your dog’s paws for cuts, cracks and dirt/debris after each walk. When possible, useE45 or Vaseline to keep your dog’s paws conditioned, but also note that this may make your floors throughout the house have greasy prints.

When outside, you might want to have your dog wear dog booties. If your dog doesn’t like booties, then make sure you remove the salt and snow removal products off your dog’s paws after each walk to keep your dog’s paws from becoming irritated and to keep your dog from getting poisoned from the chemicals in the snow removal product.

Here is My Busy Dog water resistant dog shoes. The product has been rated 4.3* on Amazon at $35.99.

Stimulation

Dogs need social stimulation to maintain a healthy life. They need to be able to interact with humans or other dogs. If they can’t interact with other dogs, at least allow them to be entertained by other livestock. Take time to walk your dog in all types of weather (except in conditions where the ground is slippery). Try to have on bright clothes and/or reflective wear (for you and for your dog if possible) so drivers can see you when the sun goes down. If you are keeping the hair trimmed around your dog’s paws, then you reduce the chances of ice balls, which are often very painful to our dog.  If you are elderly, you may want to opt to do indoor games with your dog instead. As long as you are keeping your dog stimulated with social interaction, you won’t have to worry about your dog emotionally suffering and manifesting odd behaviors like excessive barking, chewing and other abnormal behaviors.

Check out the Kurgo Loft reflective dog jacket to keep your pooch warm on their winter walk. It’s $18.40 and has been rated 4.4* on Amazon.

Winter Survival Tips for Other Animals

cat outsideCat winter survival guide

  • Most cats love to be inside when it’s winter season, but if yours likes to be outdoors, keep them a nice, heated outdoor pet house to go snuggle up in. In extreme temperatures, your cat should always be kept inside to prevent frostbite and hypothermia even if they don’t prefer it.
  • When in doubt about the safety of your cat, keep them inside. Some cats crawl into car engines or other dangerous areas to keep warm.
  • Use a litter tray outside when the ground has snow for cats that like to be outside. Also, make sure your cat can get back in and out the house freely.
  • Some people prefer to microchip their cat to keep track of them in case they wander off.
  • Holiday staples like lilies, and poinsettia are nice for the occasion but are harmful to your cat. In fact, they are actually poisonous to them. Also, cats love tinsel. It may not be poisonous, but it is a nuisance and will have to be removed from your cat’s stomach or rear end if ingested.

Rabbit and cavie winter survival guidecavie outside

  • Make sure your rabbit or cavie’s outdoor pet house is not in the path of cold air, rain or snow streams. If you live in an area where there is a lot of bad weather, you may want to keep the hutch inside an unused shed or garage. Cavies should be kept inside when it’s winter. If they must be outside, make sure they are in a garage or conservatory.
  •  Pets that need to stay outside need to have a snug hutch with a nice warm blanket or warm sackcloth with extra bedding (that you will have to change regularly).
  • Even if you have a specially made bottle cover to keep the water bottle from freezing, make sure you regularly check the bottle by pressing the ball every couple of hours to make sure the water is flowing.
  • Make sure your pet has a lot of nourishing calories to help them stay warm (for example, premium grade hay).
  • Make sure your pets run is available so they can maintain their health with regular exercise.
  • Keep a sturdy and secured hutch because some animals get friskier during the winter (especially foxes and badgers)

horse outsideHorse winter survival guide

  • The cold, wintry winds will often spook horses and cause them to act abnormally. Use caution when riding them and interacting with them in the winter season.
  • As far as tolerating the temperature of winter, horses can do that very well. However, they do have a problem with rain and wind conditions. A line of trees or a windbreak can help your horses tolerate these conditions.
  • To keep your horse dry, you can invest in thick rug that can be found at many of your local markets. Horses with fine coats will need a heavier rug than those with a thicker coat, and some thick coated horses may not need a rug at all.
  • To prepare for the spring season, most horses start losing weight during the winter season. Make sure you monitor your horse’s weight to prevent a loss of excess weight. If your horse starts losing weight excessively, increase his hay intake. Laminitis can still affect an overweight horse; so, make sure your horse is regularly checked.
  • As with all pets kept outdoors, make sure your horse’s water is still flowing by breaking up and removing ice from it. A floating tennis ball in the trough will also help to keep the water from freezing so quick.
  • If your horse becomes chilled after a workout, take your horse on a brisk walk, or use a cooler blanket to reduce the heat loss.
  • We all know that grazing is not well accomplished in the winter season. But don’t let this cause your horse to go searching for food in hedgerows and ditches that may contain hazardous materials that your horse may consume. To prevent your horse from wandering to graze elsewhere, make sure all fences and hedges are secured—especially those that face roads and ditches. You may have to add extra fencing around the hedges to reinforce them as they lose leaves during the winter.
  • If you are taking your horse to a new grazing location, make sure it’s done early in the morning so your horse can get accustomed to going to the new location.
  • Use reflective gear when horse riding and have a cellphone handy in case of emergencies.
  • Never ride your horse in icy or foggy conditions.
  • Have an action plan on how to rescue your horses in case of heavy snow. Know who’s all involved and how you plan on carrying out the plan from start to finish.

Ferret outsideFerret Winter Survival Tips

Ferrets actually like the cold more than they do hot weather. However, that should not deter you from making sure your ferret is safe during dropping temperatures because ferrets are prone to catching the flu.

Never have your pet’s cage in the pathway of cold winds. Your ferret’s cage should be situated with a dry space where he can snuggle up, hide and sleep whenever he desires. Keep the ferret’s “toilet” spot dry and clean to prevent it from freezing during the night hours.

The bedding in your ferret’s cage should be changed regularly during the winter season if it’s cage is kept outdoors. The frequency in which you change your ferret’s bedding depends on whether you wish to do it daily or every other day. The litter tray or “toilette” area needs to be kept clean at all times—often cleaned throughout the day. If you keep a regular schedule of maintaining a clean environment for your ferret, then the only odor your ferret should ever have is one that comes from the actual environment outdoors.

No matter what type of water container you have for your ferret, it must always be cleaned and refilled with fresh water every day. Any old food must be immediately discarded to prevent the development of harmful bacterial growths inside the ferret’s cage. These cage hygiene practices are very helpful should your pet ever have an open wound.

Although ferrets love tunneling and playing in the snow, their wet fur can cause them to get chilled. Damp environments are not good for your ferret’s health. Therefore, if your ferret is shivering after having playtime in the snow, then place him back into his cage so he can warm up again. Also, warming up your ferret helps reduce the chances of him catching the flue or getting frostbitten, which is something you should always be checking for in the winter. The signs they might be suffering from frostbite include the following:

  • Extremities (like the nose, ears and tail) will start turning red then become very pale
  • Following the colour changes in the extremities is a feeling of numbness in the nose, ears and paws.

Allow your ferret from 10 – 15 minutes to frolic in the snow. Don’t leave them unattended because they will have the tendency to go off somewhere and get lost. A nice harness with a lead is a valuable tool to have when your ferret is having his play time.

Based on the information presented here, it is clear that pets can be kept outside during the winter months. If owners do their part to maintain the health and happiness of their pets, then their pets should see many winters to come with no problems. We, at MyCosyPet, hope you found this article helpful!