Keeping Pets Warm in Winter

Making sure your pets are comfortable when the weather gets cold is important. This guide is about keeping pets warm in winter.

Dog Coat for Cold Weather
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I have a Rat Terrier who lives outside. Is there a way where I can keep her warm, inexpensively?

By Kayla from southern IL

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I am chiming in on this one ... a rat terrier being kept outside in the winter is abuse, plain and simple. That poor thing, alone on the most frigid of nights while his/her owners are enjoying the warmth and comfort of an indoor "home". Get that dog inside! I am appalled!

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I have a great way of keeping my dogs' bed warm. I have an electric "throw" blanket. I got mine at Walmart, and have seen them at Target and K-Mart too, even Big Lots. I put it on the floor underneath my dogs' bed and turn it on low. Then I put a small lightweight blanket on top of the bed. I have the ones they sell at Walmart for $6 right now. One is plenty for my 2 Dachshunds.

The electric blanket keeps the bed at just the right temperature for them on a cold night, and doesn't cool off over time like a hot water bottle would. It only costs pennies a day to keep it on. And the blanket on top holds the warmth in so they aren't warm on their bellies and cold on their backs. My babies love it.

Also, by putting it underneath their bed, it keeps them from tearing the blanket up when they are scratching around to get comfortable like dogs do. Their bed protects the blanket.

An added advantage: They aren't sneaking up into my warm bed after I go to sleep! (Not that they aren't welcome, but they love their bed). They've learned that if they get too warm, they come out from under the blanket and lay on the floor for a little while. Then when they get chilly again, they nose their way back under the blanket and onto the nice warm bed.

By Cricketnc from Parkton, NC

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Jack Russell and Yorkie in their warm coats.I had 3 doggies at one time, and getting them winter coats was a bit costly. So at an after-Halloween costume sale, I scored big and saved lots. I purchased several pet/dog costumes for $1.00 to $3.00 each. I looked for outfits that came with warm coats.

For the Yorkie, I purchased an adorable lion outfit with cap and coat. For the Jack Russell, I purchased an adorable unicorn outfit with cap and coat. For the Bichon-Malti-Poo mix, I purchased a tiger outfit, again with cap and coat.

These coats were thick and warm. They were easy to put on with Velcro tabs and well made. I think it was the Target after Halloween sale and I waited till it was 90% off.

I also buy doggie clothes like sweaters and t-shirts out of season at clearance prices. I know it sounds silly, but my doggie loves his warm clothes on cold days. Since he insists on coming with us on outings in winter and it gets cold in the car, someone stays in the car with him to make sure he is warm. I will try to attach one pic of the Jack Russell and Yorkie in coats.

BTW, we were trying to take a photo of Cookie the Jack Russell, alone and at the last second Oso the Yorkie, snuck in to steal the spotlight!

By Annie from Columbia, MO

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We have 2 dogs and 2 small birds. During the winter at night we don't heat the whole house. We have an electric blanket on our bed and our dogs have an electric blanket under their bed with a blanket on top, too. We all stay nice and warm that way.

I was concerned though about my birds, so I came up with a solution that works wonderfully for them. I knitted a small tube-type bed for them that they love to cuddle up in. I've seen them for sale at PetSmart and other pet stores too.

Then I bought a small electric space heater and set it up about 3 feet away from their cage. I made a frame for it that keeps their cover from touching the heater and maybe causing a fire. I use a twin size sheet that I bought for $5 and cover the cage and the heater frame at night. I clip the sheet in different places to keep it from sliding around. The heater that I bought has an adjustable thermostat on it that comes on and goes off to maintain the temperature I set it at. I keep it at about 55 degrees overnight.

Now we're all nice and warm even on the coldest of nights!

By Cricket from NC

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So my parents have agreed to let me get a dog except my mom doesn't want the dog to be inside, even in the winter. We plan to put the dog in the garage except it's not insulated or connected to the house. We are going to give an enclosed space in the garage to the dog, and provide blankets, a heated bed and a dog house, of course, but is that enough? We aren't sure how to keep the dog warm in the winter.

Ashley from Utah, Salt Lake City

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I think that keeping an outdoor dog warm in the winter is very easy to do! My parents won't let me keep our female black lab inside, but we have done a wonderful job of keeping her happy outside in the winter. She was born in a barn, and we made our own dog house for her! It is very well insulated on every side, has a tilted roof, and lots of hay inside to keep her warm!

Then she has an area that is fenced in for her to poop in or just walk around. We clean up her poop every day, provide her with food and water that's fresh and unfrozen, and in the harsh winter nights that are freezing we put her in a kennel in the garage.

Keep in mind that to keep a dog warm in the winter, they will need exercise! Get your snow gear on and run around with your dog and provide an adequate amount of love for your dog. Honestly, it isn't cruel, it is a way of life for dogs, they used to live outside before they were made pets, and now keeping them happy and warm outside is very possible! Good luck :)

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How can I keep my neighbor's dog warm this winter? They keep her outside year round and never pay attention to her. I go out several times a day and play and pet her and just sit with her. I also feed her and give her water; her owners do nothing for her. She's 15 years old, a German Shorthaired Pointer.

By Jody

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Ps. You have a kind heart and it is wonderful of you to care so for a dog that's not yours. I as well find myself doing the same for pets that are neglected by my neighbors. Have you thought about adopting her yourself? If my other recommendations in the previous post are too costly (but the infrared light you can make for under $15) try googling something along the lines of "inexpensive or thrifty ways to keep an outdoor pet warm" good luck!

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Old "egg crates" (mattress pad) can be cut to help winterize your dog house. Cut the foam to fit the sides and roof of your dog house and staple in place. This will help keep your best friend warm when he has to be outside.

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Black and white dog.Does anyone have a good idea what to use in a dog pen to keep a dog warm, dry, and comfortable (something recyclable?)

By Val

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It really depends on how much you can spend. There are heated dog houses that are wonderful. There are heated mats made especially to hold up to dog use. You could use a heated mat and build your own dog house.

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How do you safely use an infrared light to keep dog warm in cold weather.

Mary from North Florida

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I use an electric blanket to keep my dogs warm. If you watch at Wal Mart or do some research online they make smaller size electric blankets for using on the couch or in a chair. But they are a perfect size for dog beds. And they have the 3 settings like a regular electric blanket does. I keep a dog bed on the floor and in the winter I pui this blanket under the bed. That way it doesn't get too hot for them. I keep it turned to low, and give them a nice thick blanket to snuggle up under and they stay warm and snuggly all nite.

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Pets AdviceOctober 17, 2012
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