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How Cold is Too Cold for Your Pets? Tips to Keep Them Warm and Healthy this Winter

How Cold is Too Cold for Your Pets? Tips to Keep Them Warm and Healthy this Winter

Posted by Petdirect on 30th May 2024

Winter in New Zealand brings a unique set of challenges for pet owners. As temperatures drop, it’s essential to ensure our furry friends remain warm, healthy, and safe. At Petdirect, we offer a variety of winter pet products. Here’s a comprehensive guide on how cold is too cold for pets, and what you can do to keep them cosy and comfortable during the chilly months.

Recognising Cold Stress in Pets

Knowing the signs of cold stress is crucial to protect your pets. If you notice any of the following, it’s time to warm up your furry friend:

  • Shivering or shaking
  • Whining, anxious behaviour
  • Sluggishness or lethargy
  • Cold ears, nose, or extremities
  • Seeking warm places to lie down

In extreme cases, pets can suffer from hypothermia, a dangerous drop in body temperature. Symptoms include rapid breathing, depression, dilated pupils, low blood pressure, and a slow heartbeat. If you suspect hypothermia, wrap your pet in a warm towel and take them to the vet immediately.

Ideal Temperatures for Pets

Generally, temperatures below 0°C are too cold for most pets, particularly those that are not accustomed to such weather. When temperatures drop below 7°C, it’s best to bring your pets indoors, especially at night. Prolonged exposure to temperatures below this can lead to cold-related health issues.

Tips to Keep Your Pet Warm and Safe

  1.  Create a Cosy Sleeping Area: Ensure your pet has a warm, sheltered, and dry spot to rest. A raised pet bed with insulating padding, blankets, or towels can help keep the cold at bay.
  2. Use Pet Clothing: For pets with thin coats or those that feel the cold more intensely, invest in pet sweaters or jackets. There are many options available, from light sweaters for mildly cold days to insulated, windproof coats for more extreme weather.
  3. Keep Them Indoors: Whenever possible, keep your pets indoors, especially during the night or during cold snaps. If they must go outside, limit their exposure to short periods and supervise them closely.
  4. Provide Warm Bedding: Ensure your pet’s bed is away from drafts and add extra blankets or a pet-safe heating pad for added warmth. Avoid electric heating pads as they can get too hot and cause burns. Check out our selection of dog beds to find the perfect fit. 
  5. Maintain Hydration: Pets might drink less water in colder weather, but it’s crucial to keep them hydrated. Make sure they have access to fresh water at all times. Check out our range of fountain and waterers.
  6. Protect Paws: Cold temperatures, ice, and chemicals like road salt can harm your pet’s paws. Consider using pet booties to protect their feet during walks.
  7. Monitor Their Health: Regular vet check-ups are essential, especially for older pets or those with health issues. Discuss with your vet any additional precautions you might need to take during the winter.

Enjoying the Outdoors Safely

While it’s important to keep your pets warm, they also need exercise and mental stimulation. Here are some tips for enjoying the outdoors safely during winter:

  • Dress Appropriately: Dress your pet in a suitable coat or sweater and use booties to protect their paws.
  • Shorten Walks: On very cold days, keep walks short and stay close to home. Monitor your pet for signs of cold stress.
  • Stay Active: If it’s too cold to spend much time outdoors, find ways to keep your pet active indoors. Play games, teach new tricks, or set up an indoor obstacle course.

Indoor Activities for Cold Days

When it’s too cold to spend much time outside, keep your pet entertained indoors:

  • Interactive Toys: Use puzzle toys and treat-dispensing toys to keep their minds engaged.
  • Training Sessions: Use the time indoors to teach new commands or tricks.
  • Indoor Play: Create fun games like hide and seek or set up an indoor obstacle course.

Winter can be a wonderful time to snuggle up with your pets and enjoy the cosy season together. By understanding their cold tolerance and taking the necessary steps to keep them warm and healthy, you can ensure that your pets stay safe and happy throughout the winter months. Whether it’s providing a warm bed, using pet clothing, or limiting outdoor exposure, these measures will help your pets thrive even when the temperatures drop. So, embrace the winter season with your furry friends, keeping them snug and content.