How to Keep Your Pets Warm During a Cold Spell

Published 12/04 2013 10:15PM

Updated 12/05 2013 12:32PM

It's only natural that when it begins to get really cold, we tend to worry about how to keep ourselves warm. But for pet owners, that's a habit that can be detrimental to your  pet's health. That's why local veterinarians want to stress the importance of not forgetting about your pets during a cold front.

All day, bags of hay have sold like hotcakes at 'Acco Farm and Ranch' in Abilene.
They're going for $3 a bag. That's a cheap price for pet owners wanting to stock up before the expected cold front rolls in.

"If you have the opening of the dog house facing and you put five or six of eight inches of hay in there, that can make all the difference," said Keith Jackson, Purchasing Manager at 'Acco'.

But Dr. Janice Price at Windmill Animal clinic reminds pet owners that filling your dog's living quarters with hay will only do so much.

"Many pets are not equipped to stay outside in freezing temperatures," said Dr. Price. "They don't have enough coat. They don't have enough fat layer or cover over their body."

If the temperatures begin to dip too low, she advises that you bring your dog inside or make it a comfortable and warm pallet in the garage.

Price has seen the consequences of leaving 'man's best friend' out in the cold.

"I saw a sick pet in November when we had that 19 degree morning, and her body temperature was 96 degrees," she said. "The normal for dogs is 100 to 102 (degrees)."

Dr. price says there are a number of factors that pet owners tend to overlook when caring for their pets in the winter.

"Dogs that live in the yard and have a water bucket, that freezes solid pretty quickly," she explains. "And then the dog gets dehydrated, because he can't get any water."

But she says that can be avoided, by remembering one simple rhyme.

"Keep them warm. Keep them dry. Keep them in the garage or inside."

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