Old dog (or cat), new tricks 

How to Protect Your Pets from a Hard Freeze 

We’re all trying to stay warm right now—make sure your furry friends are too. 

By Raven Wuebker February 18, 2021

As we try to keep warm during these frigid temperatures, and as we brace for another hard freeze here in Houston, we mustn't forget our furry family members are trying to do the same. At this point, we've made it this far, so, with this in mind, here are a fews tips to help ensure your lovable companion is warm and safe. 

Make your pet its own area.

If your pet typically stays outside, bring them indoors (if you haven’t already), and make them their own designated area. Set aside some blankets or towels for your pet to lay on,” says Angelina Saucedo, Houston Humane Society’s marketing manager. “The garage or laundry room can be made into a nice cozy spot for your animals.” Saucedo also says a carpeted closet also may be a warm place for both you and your furry friend. 

Gather your blankets and towels.

If your pet sleeps in a crate, Saucedo says that lining it with blankets as well as covering the crate completely with a towel will keep your pet warmer. The towels and blankets act like an insulator, trapping the heat in the crate for your precious pooch. Also, if you have any old towels or blankets, set them outside for any neighborhood strays that need somewhere warm to sleep during the freeze. 

Observe (fluffy) body language.

Keep an eye on your pet—this is a stressful situation for them as well. Saucedo says that If you see your pet shivering, use your body to keep them warm. Your pet may also experience low energy, and according to Saucedo, this may be a sign they are cold. A good indicator of this is to check your pet’s ears.  

Keep them busy.

According to Saucedo, toys can entertain your cats, dogs, guinea pigs, birds, you name it, while indoors. A kong with peanut butter will keep your pet playing for hours,” Saucedo says. “Any toy with catnip can be entertaining for a cat.” Toys will also keep them preoccupied so they won’t get into anything they don’t need to be into (like that bathtub of water you need to flush). 

Use baby gates or crates.

Because some pets are outdoors-only, curiosity might get the better of them and they’ll start exploring. If toys just aren’t doing the trick, Saucedo advises to use a baby gate or a crate to keep pets in their designated area. 

Designate a bathroom spot or a time to go outdoors.

Since going outside is less than ideal right now, Saucedo advises folks to have a potential bathroom spot inside that your pet recognizes. “A space indoors can be designated to use the potty using potty pads,” Saucedo says. “Or ensure you are taking your pet outdoors in the morning and before nightfall to use the potty.” 

 Remember the stray cats.

Due to animals finding warmth in any way they can, car engine blocks could be a potential target for cats to crawl in, which can be dangerous. Saucedo recommends knocking on your hood before turning on the car. By doing this, it will warn any cats that may be trying to get warmth from the car to crawl out. 

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