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Winter is Coming

November 7, 2011

It’s that time of year. The Halloween decorations have been put away, the last of the yard work for the summer is done, the flower beds have been cleared and daylight savings time is over. Soon we can expect to spend days cozy inside, while the wind blows and the snow falls outside.

But just as there are things we do to prepare our home for the cold winter days, there are things we should do to help prepare our pets as well. If you have any outside pets, now is the time to get ready for the colder days ahead. It’s much easier to prepare outside shelter for dogs and cats when the sun is shining and it’s still in the 50’s, than to wait till the middle of a 15 degree snowstorm.

The following are just a few of the things to consider when preparing outside pets for the coming winter months.

The first of course is adequate shelter.  Do they have an area where they can get in out of the wind and precipitation? Is it big enough for them to fit into comfortably, but not so large that it won’t warm up from their body heat? Placing straw bales around an outside pet enclosure can help keep the wind out and provide insulation to a structure as well.

Another thing to take into consideration is: how easily can you get to your pet’s enclosure? You don’t want to have to shovel through drifting snow several times a day to take care of and check on your pet. Make sure that their food and water is easily accessible and that they will have a water source that won’t freeze solid.

One last thing to think about if you have an outside pet, is making sure there is an area they can stay inside for those times when it is too bitterly cold to leave them out.  Even pets who love to be outside cannot tolerate some of the extreme temperatures that hit us every winter. During those times, they need somewhere safe in a heated area to stay till it warms up.

You might be thinking that you don’t need to plan ahead for winter if all your pets are inside, but there are some things to consider for our house pets as well.

You should try and make sure you keep an adequate supply of any medications or food that your pet needs. Snow and ice can make getting to the store or clinic to pick up a refill hazardous or even impossible at times, so you’ll want to make sure you have plenty on hand.

Are you traveling for the holidays? Now is the best time to schedule boarding for your pet.  The Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s holidays are some of the busiest times for our kennel when it comes to boarding. The sooner you schedule the days your pet needs to stay, the better the chance you won’t be out in the cold if we’re already booked up. Even if you aren’t traveling, you need to consider if there are any days you may need to board your pet. Not everyone loves pets as much as we do, and sometimes visitors can have allergies or phobias. In those cases it may be better to board your pet until your holiday guests have returned home.

Good planning now can help ensure an enjoyable holiday season ahead for us and our pets, and a safe and cozy winter as well.

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