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Keeping Outdoor Pets Warm in the Winter

January 1, 2022

Now is about that time when the Northwest gets cold, wet, windy, and snowy. It’s easy to warm up when you have a wood stove pumping out some heat, but for your pets and horses, winter can be a trying time. Here are a few things to keep in mind as your local weather takes a turn for the worst.

For the Dogs

As long as your dog(s) live in the house with you, keeping them warm is easy. It’s when they go outside for any length of time that they can get cold, hurt their paws, or get poisoned.

If your area is particularly cold and your dog isn’t built for extreme conditions, get them a coat or other bit of canine clothing. Coastal carries a wide variety of dog coats, sweaters, and rain jackets for just about any condition. We carry booties for their paws too. It might sound silly, but booties can protect your dog’s paws from possible frostbite as well as chemicals used to thaw snow and ice. Booties prevent them from licking those substances off their paws later that day, which can be dangerous or even fatal.

Additionally, watch out for puddles of antifreeze this time of year. Options made with propylene glycol are less toxic, but can still harm your pets, including cats.

Keeping Cats Warm

A lot of small farms and ranches have outdoor cats. They’re great for controlling rodents and other pests. Plus, they make great family pets. To ensure they make it through the winter okay, provide them with shelter. Give them access to a spot in the barn, shed, or garage. All you need is a cat or small dog door to keep larger predators out.

Coastal Tip: Cats like to climb up into car engines for warmth. During the coldest days, knock on the hood of your car or truck before starting it. It could save one (or all) of their nine lives. 

Horses Need Attention too

To protect your horses from the worst weather, give them access to a barn, stable, or three-sided shelter. Additionally, a horse blanket is a good option, especially if your horse is clipped or doesn’t have shelter. While blanketing gives horses an added layer of insulation over their naturally warm hair coat, it’s important the blanket fit properly to avoid rubbing and sores. The folks at Coastal can help you find the right one for your equine, including our informative video Coastal 101: Properly Fitting Your Horse for Blanketing.

Coastal Tip: Horses develop a natural winter coat as the days grow shorter. Blanketing too early in the season can decrease that growth.

Keep troughs and water sources free from ice to ensure they are able to drink a minimum of 10 gallons per day. The API 1500 Watt Floating Stock Tank De-icer is a great option. As for food, some horses might require additional calories during the coldest winter days. Look for feed that gives your horse good levels of vitamins A, E, and D, as well as probiotics, prebiotics, and biotin. You’ll find plenty of options and expert advice at your nearby Coastal.

Watch your horse’s hooves in the winter. Cleaning their hooves and applying an anti-fungal conditioner can help keep them healthy. For more details, check our article Farrier Tips to Cleaning Horse Hooves.

Coastal Tip: Increase traction around paddocks with a thin layer of sand or ash. Just be sure to keep the sand out of the feeding areas or around troughs. 

Face Winter’s Wrath at Coastal

You’ll find everything you need to keep your stock tanks flowing, animals fed, and your pets warm and happy at your Northwest owned and operated Coastal. Stop by today and we’ll point you, and your pet, in the right direction.