Tips for keeping pets away from the cold over the holidays

Published 8:00 am Tuesday, December 19, 2023

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Many of us are dreaming of a White Christmas but don’t forget about your pets out in the cold weather this holiday season. 

Chattahoochee Humane Society Volunteer Dale Frazer gave some tips for keeping pets warm in the cold weather. The humane shelter has had some practice with it recently. 

In November, the Chattahoochee Humane Society opened 15 outdoor kennels to make more room for animals. As the weather began to drop, the shelter director Amber Mingin put out a plea for help from the community to keep the dogs out of the cold. 

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They needed 15 igloo dog houses and straw to put in for insulation. For families who have outdoor pets, Frazer said it’s imperative that they get a doghouse that can keep them warm in the cold weather. Though many people are tempted to put a nice blanket inside, Frazer said straw or hay is much better. 

If the blanket gets wet from snow, water bowl or urine, it will freeze in the cold. Loose straw will not absorb water and retains the pet’s body heat. 

Luckily, the community pulled through and the shelter staff received all the supplies they needed. 

“The community has really stepped up,” Frazer said. 

Frazer said the staff also bought space heaters and heat lamps for the light sockets to keep the dogs warm.

Luckily, the shelter’s outdoor kennels have cement walls to block the wind which can cause the temperature to drop. For those who have kennels at home Frazer said to use a tarp to cover it and block the wind.

She also advised pets owners not to skip meals because they’re burning more calories and it will help them keep their body temperature up. Also, keep fresh water around and make sure that it hasn’t frozen over. 

As for outdoor cats, it’s important to make sure they have a warm place at night but be aware that they may find their own shelter. Older homes often have forgotten crawl spaces or hollow areas under the house that aren’t safe for animals. Make sure to keep openings to crawl spaces closed to prevent cats or small dogs from getting near any unknown danger. 

Cats also sometimes climb under cars or on top of car tires to get close to a warm engine so look around your vehicle before driving in the morning. 

As for inside dogs, they are even more likely to be affected by the cold if they are not used to it. It can help to take shorter walks during the colder months, especially for smaller dogs with less body fat.