Winter weather poses new problems for pets. Fluffy and Fido enjoy the warmth of indoors as much as their human counterparts. How can you ensure their safety this winter?
Keep an eye on the temperature. When it falls below 20 degrees, it's best to keep all pets indoors. Short-haired dogs and puppies should be kept indoors when the temperature dips below 40 degrees.
If you must keep your dog outside, make sure it has fresh, non-frozen water to drink (animals can't burn calories without a fresh supply of water, and if they can't burn calories, they'll get cold), and a safe place to escape the cold, such as a dog house or a pen.
Dog houses should be large enough that your dog can sit and lay down comfortably, but small enough to hold in their body heat. The floor should be raised an inch off the ground and be covered with cedar shavings or straw; the door should be covered with waterproof burlap or heavy plastic.
Pens should have canvas stretched over the top and bales of straw on the floor.
Keep your pet's coat well groomed. Matted fur won't properly protect your pet from the cold.
When nature calls, make sure you use a damp towel to wipe your pet's paws and underside when they come back inside. Ice-melting chemicals can irritate and burn the pads of your pet's feet and can cause serious injury if ingested. You also can protect your dog's feet by spraying them with cooking oil or purchasing boots (yes, your dog will thank you!).