Keep Your Outdoor Pets Warm In The Freezing Temps (VIDEO)

By Madeline Shine - 21Alive

January 5, 2014 Updated Jan 5, 2014 at 12:42 AM EDT

FORT WAYNE, Ind. ( 21 alive) -- We all know how to keep warm during the winter, but some of our four legged friends may need a little help.

With the snow storm heading our way, outdoor animals need to stay just as safe as people.

Animals like horses, which may live outdoors need to be properly protected from Mother Nature’s freezing elements.

"If you don't have protection from wind, a blanket does provide a barrier protection from the wind. But the blanket needs to be water proof, especially with the snow that’s coming. If the blanket was to get saturated, it’s just like standing out without protection. So it needs to be a waterproof, not water resistant blanket," Dr. Ryan Rothenbuhler of Conley & Koontz Equine Hospital said.

The same rule applies for any animal spending time outdoors during these cold temperatures. Make sure they have proper food, shelter and water to keep them safe.

"All animals essentially the same, water and substance is the most important part, so providing fresh water, heated water, is very important, animals don't want to drink ice water, especially when the temperatures are negative twenty, so providing a heated water bucket if possible, or fresh water to all animals, dogs, cats, livestock, is very important.”

Along with hydration, an active horse must be placed on a proper diet in order to keep warm before and after exercise.

"A fair amount of people believe that exercising during the winter is still a must, it keeps a horse in good condition, but if you're not feeding it appropriately, exercising the horse can actually lose weight, lose protection from the winter, so you obviously need to increase your caloric intake in the winter as well if you're riding your horse. The next couple days, riding is not near as important as protecting from the wind and the cold temperatures."

If it's possible to have your horse or outdoor animal indoors to wait out the freezing cold, they are more likely to stay safe and healthy.

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