Winter Storm Niko is forecast to dump up to 10 inches of snow on the Northeast tomorrow. With blowing and drifting snow and a travel advisory issued for our area, pet owners are looking for ways to keep their pets safe and warm. Here are seven hot tips for a cold winter week.
Coats or Boots?
When you go out on a cold day, you zip into a warm coat and lace up your furry boots. Does your pet need the same? Maybe, especially if Fido does not have the luxuriant coat of an Artic breed dog. I see many dogs wearing coats and sweaters designed to slip easily over their head and front legs; however, some dogs are not into wearing clothes and getting those dogs dressed to go outdoors can be a struggle. Ditto for putting boots on four paws before heading out for the morning walk. Despite the challenge of booting four paws, I actually think dogs, at least city dogs, benefit from wearing boots which protect their sensitive paw pads from the harsh chemicals used to keep the streets free of ice and snow.
Try a Self-Warming Bed
If your apartment or house is a bit nippy, consider a getting your pet a self-warming bed. These beds reflect lost body heat back onto your pet, keeping them toasty warm. Electric beds are available for pets, but I am always worried about electric cord chewing. A self-warming bed avoids this potential danger.
Bang on the Hood
When the mercury falls, outdoor cats look for a cozy place to snooze. Your car or truck engine is toasty after you drive home from work or the grocery store. Agile cats will shimmy up into the engine block for a nap, but when you turn the engine over they can easily be injured by the fan belt or other moving parts. Be sure to bang on the hood or scrape the snow off the windows before starting the engine to give a sleeping cat a wake-up call. Providing shelter for outdoor cats may lessen the risk they will use your car engine as a sleeping spot.
Don’t Forget the Backyard Cats
Not so much in Manhattan, but definitely in the other boroughs of NYC and all over the country, people host feral cats in their yards. The winter months are tough for outdoor cats due to the cold and decreased opportunities for hunting. Water becomes scarce if the temperatures are low enough to freeze the water in puddles, bowl and other reservoirs. Providing shelter and insulation for backyard cats can be as simple as creating a cozy space using bales of straw. More elaborate structures can be purchased and filled with straw. Straw is an excellent bedding choice for outdoor cats since it is both inexpensive and moisture resistant. Move the cats’ food and water bowls to a spot where the sun will prevent freezing.
- Looking for dog boots? Read a nice review online.
- Want to set up a shelter for your backyard cats? Alley Cat Allies suggests how.
- Everyone needs fresh water. Find a water heater to keep water bowls and your bird bath from freezing.