Although pets have fur, they still get cold. Pets are at risk of frostbite, hypothermia, and death during the colder months. Even on the furriest pet, there is still exposed body parts that are not as covered – ears, nose, and paws.
Providing shelter is an essential need for any outdoor pet!
Dog shelter tips:
- There are many ready-made dog shelters on the market that can be purchased. Some of not suitable as purchased for cold weather though. A purchased dog shelter may need extra insulation to keep out cold temperatures and retain inside warmth.
- If you plan to build your own dog shelter, keep in mind that it should be constructed of a good solid material to withstand the elements – resist wind and rain/snow.
- Be sure it is large enough for the pet to fully stretch out when lying down, and fully stand and turn around in. A shelter too larger will be hard to retain heat.
- For winter months insulation is a necessity. Some ready-made pet shelters are made with thick materials to provide insulation. If you are building your own, insulate the inside with additional plywood.
- A blanket for the door can help block wind and snow during winter months. Be sure that the dog can still move in and out of the shelter as needed.
- The roof should be absolutely leak resistant. Build it with a sturdy frame, boards, plywood insulated, moisture resistant roofing lining, and shingles or roofing panels. A small price to keep your pet warm and dry during the coldest, subzero months of winter.
- Be sure to provide warm bedding – straw/hay or blankets. Be sure your structure is water proof! Bedding is only warm if it is dry.
- Even when you have the best accommodations possible for your outside pet, indoor accommodations may still be necessary during extreme temperature lows. During freezing and subzero conditions, pets should be moved into sheds, garages, barns, etc…. Be sure than any chemicals, spills, or items that can be chewed are out of reach.
Do you have an outdoor cat, a neighborhood cat that comes around, or a stray cat that you have been feeding? See “Providing Outdoor Winter Shelters for Cats” for some great outdoor shelters to help them get through the cold months.