Your dog does not have the benefit of being able to tell you when he is getting too cold, nor can he go adjust the heater or grab another blanket out of the linen closet. Your dog relies on you to supply him with everything he needs to stay warm and safe when temperatures begin to drop.
According to Texas A&M University, pets who are not completely used to living outside in the elements should be brought inside when temperatures dip to 45 degrees or below. Washington State University recommends that even the most well-adjusted, hardy outdoor pets be brought indoors if sub-zero temperatures are predicted. It also recommends against leaving indoor pets outdoors for even short period of times once temperatures have dropped to the point where you feel too cold or uncomfortable when you take your pet outside. If your pet is used to being inside a 70-degree house, he is going to get cold very quickly when he steps outside into much colder weather.
If you have found yourself in a situation where you need to provide your dog with additional heat but cannot just turn up the heater in your home, you may have to consider using a space heater. Ceramic space heaters are considered safer for use with kids and pets because they do not get hot to the touch and your pets will not be burned by touching the heater.
Exercise caution if you decide to use a ceramic space heater to keep your dog warm. You are always taking a risk if you choose to leave any type of electrical device unattended in a dog's kennel or doghouse. Your dog might become tangled in the cord, chew the cord or the device might malfunction unnoticed and start a fire. A better option is to bring your dog inside of your home, even into the garage, and then use a ceramic space heater to warm up the area of the home that your pet is in. Ideally, you will want to place the space heater far enough above the ground that your dog does not have access to the heater or the heater's cord. The area you are using the space heater in needs to be small enough in size that the heater can effectively warm it. It should also be free of drafts or leaks that would allow rain into the area.
Depending on your dog's environment, you may need to supplement your space heater with additional supplies to help keep your dog warm. Provide him with plenty of clean, dry bedding. Both blankets and straw will work. If your dog is going outside, pet sweaters or jackets can help provide additional protection against the weather. Make sure to thoroughly dry your dog's coat and paws when he comes back inside after going outdoors.
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