How to Keep Outdoor Pets Warm in Winter

pet owners with their happy dog

Most outdoor pets are small mammals that live in hutches and cages outside. Rabbits, guinea pigs, chinchillas, and ferrets all need additional care when the weather gets colder.

Unfortunately, it isn’t always practical to bring your animals inside, and many people simply do not have the space to keep their pets indoors for days or weeks at a time. That said, if the weather truly does become horrendous, you should find a way to bring them inside either your own home or make arrangements for them to stay with someone else until conditions improve.

Here are some of the things that you can do to help keep your small pet warm this winter.

1. Move their hutch into the most sheltered part of your yard. You should try and
position the hutch in such a way that the wind, rain, and even snow cannot get inside –
even if this means making it face a corner some of the time. However, it is important to
make sure that you turn the hutch or cage around on days where the weather improves
so that your pet can still get some natural light.

2. Add bedding. You might throw an extra blanket on your bed when the weather gets
colder, and you need to extend the same courtesy to your animals so that they can keep
themselves warm. Add some extra bedding into their environment so that they can
snuggle in and make themselves cozy. For rabbits and guinea pigs, this means lots and
lots of extra hay, whereas chinchillas and ferrets will prefer a fleecy blanket placed into
their sleeping area.

3. Insulate their home. Placing old towels, blankets, or even a tarpaulin over the cage will
help to insulate it and keep it warm.

4. Consider a heating pad. You can now buy heating pads designed specifically for use
by animals. Some of these can be safely used under the bedding of outdoor animals to
generate extra warmth.

5. Don’t let their water bottle freeze! Hydration is just as important when the weather is
cold, but when the temperatures drop, there is a real risk of your pet’s water bottle
freezing, leaving her without a drink. However, you can reduce the likelihood of this
happening by insulating the bottle with an old sock or even a piece of bubble wrap.

6. Keep exercise runs short and sweet. Fresh air, natural light, and exercise are
important for your pet all year around and you shouldn’t prevent your furbaby from
accessing their run. However, keep these exercise sessions fairly short and frequent so
that she is not exposed to the cold for very long.

7. Don’t scrimp on the food! During the winter, your pet needs extra calories to help keep
warm so make sure that you continue to offer plenty of good quality, nutritious food.

8. Make sure their hutch is secure. Wild animals such as foxes, raccoons, and even
coyotes may find that food is scarce and this may make them even more determined to
get a meal out of your pet. Make sure that your pet’s home is strong enough to hold off
any predators.

While dogs and cats tend to live indoors, especially during the winter months, it is important to
make sure that you keep them warm, if and when they do go out. Again, ensure that you
continue to feed your pet good-quality, nutritious meals throughout the winter months.
Your cat may not want to go outside and do her business, so make sure you have a litter tray
available that she can use. Finally, consider jumpers and coats for your furbaby if she goes
outside, and for dogs, a pair of booties. These can help insulate her and keep her warm for the
short periods she is outside.

If you would like further pet wellness advice, call our Las Vegas, NV office today.