It can get frigid in winter. We, humans, turn on heaters and wear thick winter coats. Animals don’t have that luxury when they are outside and need a little help. Here are some things you can do to help the animals in your area survive winter!
Feeding animals is, of course, a very kind thing to do, but did you know that it’s only essential when they’ve been freezing for days? Most birds build up a layer of fat in fall to help them survive winter better. If it is a mild winter, there is no need to feed the birds. When there is frost or snow, the birds can be helped by extra food.
During harsh winters, there is a good chance that the water will freeze. A bowl of water can be helpful. Keep the leaves from coming in and keep them « fresh » periodically.
A Winter Garden Is an Excellent Refuge for Animals
People who have a garden can also help animals. Shrubs and plants that bear fruit even in winter are ideal for animals. They can also create hiding places and shelters for hedgehogs and squirrels. Leave the branches and leaves in place during fall and winter. You can also hang birdhouses.
Rabbits can tolerate some cold, but if they start to freeze, you should put them in a hutch and give them more straw so that they can build a nest. It is not a good idea to bring a rabbit that is always outside indoors. They cannot cope with significant temperature differences.
Extra Care for Animals in the Meadow
Animals in the meadow also need special attention in the winter. Horses and sheep can withstand the cold due to their thick coat, whereas goats and donkeys have thin skin and must be kept indoors. Their skin is also susceptible to rain in the winter.
Dogs and cats like to stay indoors during winter, but sometimes they also want to go outside. On daily walks, make sure your dog moves well and is not cold. Cats don’t tend to stay outside often when it gets cold, but when they do, they will naturally look for a warm place to stay. So, when you go out in your car, remember to ensure that there is no cat under the hood.
People think that grooming should be avoided in winter, but this is not always the case. For instance, long-haired dogs are often more tolerant of cold weather, but water and snow stay in their long hair. Imagine standing in the snow wearing a wetsuit. That’s how it feels for them! You can cut your long hair in the groin. This is because the snow will stick to it and make it difficult to walk. You can also smear vaseline on the leg cushions. If the snow gets between the legs, crush it and do not try to pull it out.
Take Advantage of the Sunshine
Sometimes the sun is out, even in winter. Make sure to open the curtains during those times. That way, your dog or cat can lie down in the sun but make sure not to place the basket directly in the sun. It will still be quite warm behind the glass. Choose a lovely, warm basket, preferably in a soft fabric. Make sure (if possible) that the basket is slightly raised off the ground. Cold from the environment will be less likely to penetrate the cat or dog’s body. Animals, especially those that usually sleep outside, need to be kept off the ground. For example, you can place dog cushions on a pallet or cat baskets on a pile of straw. Also, the sleeping area should be free from wind and moisture, such as under a small shelter.
How do you help your pet during harsh winters? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below!