Keeping Pets Warm in Winter

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

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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.

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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 Cricket from Parkton, NC

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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.

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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.

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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 Rios Hill 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.

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September 30, 2004

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.

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This will help keep your best friend warm when he has to be outside.

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When you know your cat or dog is ready to sleep for awhile, place a rubber hot water bottle under the bedding, but close enough so they feel the heat. I use these myself sometimes during the day and definitely at night.

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My daughter's boyfriend just adopted a 7-week old puppy from the pound. To keep it quiet at night, my daughter told him to fill an empty soft drink bottle with hot water, wrap it in a towel, and put it in it's bed.

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No more whimpering puppy!

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If you're needing to keep a small animal warm, but you find a heating pad for humans to be too hot, simply fill a glass bottle with warm water.

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Questions

Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.

December 11, 2010

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

By Kayla from southern IL

Answers

December 11, 20100 found this helpful

Put red cedar chips in the dog house.

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July 3, 2007

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

Answers

Anonymous
July 3, 20070 found this helpful

Hi Ashley,

You didn't say how large or furry your dog is, but all dogs should be indoors in below freezing weather. Small dogs (under 20 lbs.) should be kept inside during the winter months.

Maybe you could ask your mom to keep him in your room or utility/laundry room. He also could be confined in a large crate or inside a dog fence.

To keep him warm in the garage, put down several layers of thick cardboard (you can cut up or fold down a large box) to insulate a dog house or crate from the cold floor.

Inside the dog house or crate, put a plug-in flat warmer that covers the bottom. You can buy these are farm supply stores such as IFA. Or a dog bed covered with towels or blankets.

If you house in a crate in the garage, leave the crate door open so he can get in and out. And cover the crate with warm blankets.

Dogs are animals that like to "den" so making him a warm home to snuggle into will keep him warm and happy.

Good luck, Ashley!

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July 3, 20070 found this helpful

If a dog is going to be kept outdoors only, a person should not have a dog. Dogs need compainionship. It's cruel to treat an animal this way.

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July 4, 20070 found this helpful

You can use cedar chips, for bedding, or an insulated padding for your pet to sleep on. Then you can run a light over his sleeping area, for extra heat.

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July 5, 20071 found this helpful

No, it's not good enough unless you plan to get a dog that likes cold weather, perhaps a husky. No dog should be left along anywhere. They should be part of the family.
You don't say your age, and you don't mention who will be paying for regular veterinarian visits, etc.
If they aren't willing to treat the dog like a member of the family and take loving care of it, wait until you are older and have your own place. Your mom doesn't sound very dog friendly.

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July 9, 20070 found this helpful

I agree that it might be a better idea to wait awhile before getting a dog. A dog is a living breathing member of the family and to just keep it in a garage to play with it when you feel like it isnt doing the dog any favors.

I know youre not responsible for that idea, I just want you to think long and hard about what sort of life you would be creating for your pet. Is that the sort of life you would want for yourself?

I have known dogs who did quite well outdoors year round but were given ample warm bedding and lots of room to run, like in the country.

If your dog has only you for entertainment your mother might be changing her mind about letting you use the garage after the doggie has wrecked something out of loneliness, boredom and frustration while youre away at school.

Yes, please wait, do lots of research, enjoy your friend's dogs and learn all you can so that you can be a suitable companion for a dog when you do get one. A dog is a huge committment and since you are the one who wants one you want to be sure that you are ready to take that on.

Your mother might even soften up in the meantime and I think it's best that a dog is brought into a home where it is welcome. Far too many dogs have been wrecked and ended up in shelters because their human companions didnt care enough about them to learn what their needs are.

Best of luck hon.

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July 9, 20070 found this helpful

My experience with the flat electric warmers was a bust, they DO NOT FEEL WARM TO THE TOUCH, they promise only 44 degrees on the label, so why buy it? And the post above is true, the dog needs to be with its pack, and that's you, so bring him in the house and be good to him! Otherwise he is out there miserable physically with being froze to death (it happens regularly, and even if he survives it's wrong) and also brokenhearted, wondering what he did to be banished from the pack. Dogs' ideal temp is 63' F, and warmer is fine (they like laying on the paved driveway in spring) but winter temps are not okay. Sometimes being a very caring and loving owner and doing the very best for your dog means rehoming him. Good luck.

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July 9, 20070 found this helpful

Ashley, I agree with a lot of the previous posts. Dogs are social creatures and it would be cruel to keep one isolated in a garage.
Think of it this way: How would you feel if you were put in a lonely garage with nothing to do? Sitting in the dark, day after day, waiting for a scrap of attention.
You don't say why your mother won't allow a dog inside. If she's concerned about the shedding, then I hate to tell you this, but everyone will probably track in dog hairs every time they visit the garage.
Personally, I think you should wait until you're on your own and can treat a dog the way it needs to be treated. There is no way to safely keep a dog outside in freezing weather, and even if it's physically safe, it could be very emotionally damaging to the dog to live in such isolation.
Good luck and I hope your mother has a change of heart and allows you to get a dog to keep indoors.

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July 9, 20070 found this helpful

I have had dogs all my life and we have never never had a dog that lived outside. The other posts are right, they are social animals and it would not be fair to get a dog that you can not enjoy as a loving pet indoors. Please think this over and maybe someday when you have your own home, you can have an indoor pet. Why get a dog if you can not truly enjoy his company.

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July 9, 20070 found this helpful

Do not subject a poor dog to isolation, freezing and hot temperatures. It is not fair. It's obvious your Mom does not want a dog, so wait until you have your own place and then you will be able to properly care for an innocent pet.

The joy of having dogs is to share the sofa, the bed and have them around you all of the time.

Where I live, Humane Societies and Rescue Leagues will not adopt to anyone who would force a pet to live outdoors.

Jennifer
Northern Virginia

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By Nancy from Florida (Guest Post)
July 9, 20070 found this helpful

Please don't get a dog until/unless your mother lets you keep him/her inside -- would your mother be interested in helping you choose the dog for the family (since that's what the dog will be)? Have you checked out www.Petfinders.com? All the animals for adoption on that site are in shelters because of being abandonned or picked up as strays. (I have adopted several, I have 2 now that we've adopted from a rescue shelter.) You can choose by breed, by size, etc, either locally or regionally. You can look at the pictures and find one that you like the looks of, and there is contact information for each animal so you can call or email the shelter for more information.

I know you are probably absolutely longing for a dog, but now that you know how unhappy a dog will be in the garage, I hope you'll rethink this! Please don't get a dog until it will be a member of your family!

Warmly,
Nancy in Florida

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July 9, 20070 found this helpful

To do such a thing is cruel. Please be concerned with the dog's well being. Your mother would do you a better service saying no to a dog, than subjecting the dog to this type of care. Dogs are wonderful, but they deserve proper care. Why not wait till you are on your own and able to provide proper care for the dog. It may be a beautiful dream to own a dog, but that dog is the one that will suffer with those conditions. Be realistic and consider the animal.

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September 29, 2013

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

Mary from North Florida

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December 18, 2013

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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December 10, 2019

Kitties love to be warm. In summer they enjoy sunny window spots. But winter is different. Keeping your cat warm in the winter can be accomplished using a warming lamp, a heated cat bed, or pad.

A cat in a window with a warm scarf and a cup of cocoa

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