Cold Weather Tips for your Pets
Posted December 02, 2014
As the temperatures begin to drop, many pet owners worry about
their pets spending time outdoors. Here are some tips for keeping
the four-legged members of your family warm and safe during the
For smaller pets, keeping them inside as much as possible during
the colder weather can be the most beneficial. If your pet is
primarily an indoor pet, this shouldn’t be much of a change.
Nonetheless, short exposure to the outside cold can be fine and is
usually not detrimental to the pet's health.
"Dogs and cats shiver a lot like people. This action is used to
help generate body heat in cold climates," said Dr. Alison Diesel,
clinical assistant professor at the Texas A&M College of
Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences. "If your pet shivers
while outside, shorten the length of your trips together to help
reduce this trembling. Providing extra bedding like blankets and
towels will also keep your pets warm and cozy."
Signs that your pet is uncomfortably cold may include excessive
whining, shivering, appearing anxious, slowing down or stopping,
and looking for a warm place to burrow. If they begin to exhibit
any of these behaviors, you should bring them inside (if outside),
or wrap them in a blanket in a warm room.
For larger pets that cannot come inside, making sure they have
an adequate outdoor shelter is important for their comfort and
safety. Shelters such as doghouses and stables can be very helpful
during cold winds, and should have extra bedding (such as blankets,
towels, hay, etc.) added for additional warmth.
"An important thing to remember for outdoor pets is to make sure
they always have a fresh supply of water," said Diesel. "If it gets
cold enough to freeze, this water source should be checked
regularly to make sure the water doesn't freeze over. Moving
water sources like fountains are less likely to do this."
You should also be extra-cautious with your senior, arthritic,
or frail pet during the winter. Cold weather can be especially
difficult for senior pets and those with degenerative joint disease
or another chronic, debilitating condition. Make sure that this pet
has soft, warm bedding that they can rest in, and since arthritis
worsens during cold and damp weather, take special care to handle
Finally, cats that are left outdoors during a cold night may
seek warmth by crawling up under the hoods of cars or into the
wheel wells. Starting or moving the vehicle can hurt or even kill a
cat taking shelter inside you car. During the winter months, it’s a
good idea to bang loudly on your car hood before starting the
engine as a warning to a cat that might be in or around your
Just like people, some pets do better with colder temperatures
than others. It is important to take into consideration your pet’s
size, as well as age and health condition, when preparing for the
winter months ahead.
Pet Talk is a service of the College of Veterinary Medicine
& Biomedical Sciences, Texas A&M University. Stories can be
viewed online at vetmed.tamu.edu/pet-talk. Suggestions for future
topics may be directed to email@example.com
↑ Back to Top
« Back to Pet Talk