Even during so-called mild winter conditions in New England, the temperature can drop pretty close to freezing – even throughout the day. Some of the best seasonal tips for pets in the Southcoast area include how to keep cats and dogs warm without overheating them and learning about habitat and care for small pets, such as hamsters, Guinea pigs, gerbils, and mice, to ensure that they are protected from the cold. While dogs will usually be okay with wearing a sweater or a coat, trying to get your cat or pet rat to wear winter clothing might be a bit more challenging. Fall River pet owners need to find smart ways to keep pets warm to avoid illness and other common issues that might result in a trip to the Dartmouth emergency vet.
When Fur Isn’t Enough
You might look at your pet and think, “well, he’s wearing a fur coat, isn’t he?” But have you ever worn a jacket in the house and then gone outside and realized that you had gotten used to the warmth of the coat and now need something heavier to regulate your temperature outdoors? Your pet wears his “fur coat” 24 hours a day, seven days a week. He needs something more if he’s going outside to “do his business” in the backyard or if you are taking him for a walk to the dog park. Every breed of dog has different limitations for hot and cold. Some breeds, such as the Siberian Husky and Shibu Inu, cannot handle hot southern summer temperatures and humidity. Certain short-hair breeds of dogs like Chihuahuas and terriers have difficulty during our New England winters if they aren’t kept warm.
The best route is to seek advice from your local veterinarian. Anchor Animal Hospital is not just a Dartmouth emergency vet, but a full-service veterinary office where we provide check-ups, offer professional recommendations to pet parents, and deliver quality treatments, preventive services, surgeries, and much more. A physical exam and collection of data can help your veterinarian offer the best possible suggestions for keeping your pet warm during the winter – both indoors and outdoors. Certain factors, such as your pet’s breed, age, coat, body fat percentage, activity, and lifestyle, as well as overall health condition, can contribute to their ability to be tolerant of temperature changes.
Keeping Pets Warm Indoors
Humans often argue about the best temperatures for indoor heating. Some have more tolerance for the cold, while others are already wearing sweaters and putting the heater on the first week of September. If you are cold wearing a winter sweater and pants in your home, the chances are high that the temperature is already too cold for your pet. Even if your pet loves the outdoors and thrives on being outside in the backyard, when the temperatures drop below 35 degrees, it’s time to limit the amount of time that they are allowed in the cold. Search for safe sources of indoor heat, including central HVAC heating, fireplaces, hot water bottles, portable heaters, and heated dog beds. However, each pet should be evaluated to determine which type of heating is best.
Some breeds don’t do well with too much heat, including smaller animals and pets that have short noses and are susceptible to breathing issues, such as Persian cats, French Bulldogs, and Pugs. Smaller animals, such as your pocket pets like hamsters, Guinea pigs, rats, mice, gerbils, chinchillas, and rabbits, might also overheat easily. In fact, many animal experts recommend keeping the temperature at 75 or below when pets are in the home, regardless of the breed. That means air-conditioning in the summer and a monitored heat source in the winter. Check the temperature of the area where your pet sleeps, hangs out during the day, and supervise the amount of time that they spend outdoors for the best possible results.
Habitat and Care for Small Pets
Make sure that your pocket pets and other caged animals have all of the bedding, water source, food supply, and other features that they need to stay safe during the winter months. A nice little spot for sleeping, separate areas for feeding, clean water, and a place for waste will help to keep your small pets healthier throughout the year. Warm hide products, bedding supplies, and regular checks to make sure that they are not exposed to a draft will help them to do well throughout the New England winters. If you have any questions, Fall River pet owners should contact our Dartmouth emergency vet directly and speak with a veterinary expert. We can offer seasonal tips for pets to help keep them safe or schedule an exam if you are concerned that they are not handling the temperature changes well.
Give us a call at 508-996-3731 to learn more about tips for keeping pets warm in the winter months or to schedule a veterinary check-up. We have proudly served Dartmouth, New Bedford, Cape Cod, Providence, Westport, and Fall River pet owners throughout the Southcoast region since 1975. Visit our website to learn more about the types of pets we care for at Anchor Animal Hospital.