How to Keep Outside Pets Warm in Winter

Dogs in winter with dog house
Does your dog feel more comfortable in the yard than in the living room? Are you worried about a neighborhood cat staying warm during the next snow storm? At Aire Serv, we understand the importance of keeping all the members of your family warm this winter—those with two legs and with four.

Like humans, all organisms require that their basic needs be met; animals need food, shelter, and water to survive. But how do we ensure the needs of outdoor pets are met, no matter the weather? Follow these tips for keeping your furry friends warm outside this winter.

How to Keep Outside Dogs Warm in Winter

It’s normal to take your dog outside for a quick game of fetch or an evening walk during the winter. If your dog is in good health, it should be no problem for it to spend short periods of time outside in the frigid winter. It’s recommended that in winter, indoor and outdoor dog owners follow these guidelines:

  1. Keep your dog’s paw fur trimmed to stop ice from forming between the pads.
  2. Keep your dog’s paws clean to prevent irritation from sharp ice and snow.
  3. Consider dog clothing, such as a sweater. Dogs with sensitive paws can wear booties to protect their paws from snow and ice; as an alternative, there are special salves that achieve the same purpose.  

If a dog is set to spend an extended period outside in winter in a northern climate, special precautions should be taken, including these:

  1. Provide your dog with a dry, well-insulated doghouse. Build your own, or purchase one online or from your local home-and-garden store. Keep in mind:
    • The doghouse should have a sloped roof to encourage snow and water drainage.
    • The doghouse should sit approximately four inches off the ground to keep the floor dry and insulated.
    • The doghouse should be outfitted with straw and soft bedding that can be washed or replaced.
    • The entrance to the doghouse should be placed away from the prevailing wind and should be just large enough for the dog to fit inside.
    • Install the doghouse in full view of your house so you can keep an eye on Fido anytime.
  2. Keep food outside the doghouse in a sheltered place—perhaps underneath the roof’s overhang. This will discourage vermin from joining your dog in their home.
  3. Keep your dog hydrated in winter (and all seasons!), as it helps them regulate their body temperature. Select a heated water dish. A solar-powered variety is perfect for outdoor pets.
  4. Bring your dog inside in advance of inclement weather!

How to Keep Outdoor Cats Warm in Winter

Does your Garfield prefer to spend his nights outside? Even the most ferocious of kitties will appreciate a warm, dry space to tuck into for a nap. Whether you’re looking to keep your family cat warm outside or you’re worried about a family of feral cats, it’s a fantastic idea to install a cat shelter in your yard and to consider taking these other steps.  

  1. Install a cat shelter.
    1. Pick a shelter location that is away from any heavily trafficked areas—away from your home’s doors, the driveway, or the road.
    2. Choose or build a shelter with a sloped roof. The shelter should be just big enough for a couple of cats, as keeping pets snug in their shelter will help them stay warm.
    3. Install the shelter four inches above the ground.
    4. Add straw and bedding that can be easily removed, washed, or replaced.
  2. Build a feeding station. It’s important for cats to have adequate food and water in the winter, but we do not advise keeping the food and water in their shelter.
    1. Consider building a lean-to or an A-shaped feeding station with food and water bowls underneath.
    2. Purchase heated bowls to keep water and wet food from freezing.
    3. Replace the food and water in your feeding station frequently, especially on freezing days.
  3. If the cat you’re feeding and sheltering is yours, try to coax it inside or into the garage in advance of a winter storm.

P.S., cats have been known to crawl inside the engine compartments of vehicles to stay warm. Knock on the hood of your car a couple of times before starting it to avoid cooking an unsuspecting kitty on your engine block. 

Need Help Keeping Your Family Warm This Winter?

At Aire Serv, we’re dedicated to keeping every member of your family warm this winter. If you need assistance with HVAC maintenance or repair, you need Aire Serv. Schedule an appointment online or call (855) 259-2280 for 24/7 emergency service.