Moosh - dog in winter

In many regions of the United States, it gets very cold during the winter months. Especially in more northern areas, freezing weather, frost, ice, and snow are common. And just like us humans, emotional support animals can find it quite uncomfortable when the temperatures drop.

For a lot of people, winter is a particularly stressful time of year. Mental health conditions such as depression, anxiety, and seasonal affective disorder (SAD) are all more prevalent during the colder months. For people who suffer from these conditions, the support of their ESA is especially important during winter.

Emotional support pets come in numerous different shapes, sizes, and types. Dogs and cats are the most common ESA species, but there are also plenty of potbellied-pigs, miniature horses, and various other ESA species providing their owners with invaluable companionship and support all across the US. Unsurprisingly, this diverse selection of ESAs has differing needs and requirements when it comes to staying warm during winter.

As an ESA owner, you might have several questions about keeping your ESA warm and comfortable during the winter months… Why is keeping my emotional support animal warm in winter important? Do ESA dogs feel the cold like humans? Do cats need heat in winter? How can I keep my outside dog warm in freezing weather? How can I keep my pet warm in the winter? How do the winter warming requirements of indoor and outdoor pets differ?

Today we will answer all of these questions and more.

Moosh - dog and cat in winter
Image by jupri on Pixabay: All emotional support animals need to stay warm in winter.

Why Is Keeping Your Emotional Support Animal Warm In Winter Important?

It is crucial to make sure that your emotional support animal is warm enough in winter. Animals, just like humans, feel the cold and get uncomfortable when it is too cold. Exposure to frigid temperatures for too long can have many adverse effects on your emotional support animal’s health and wellbeing.

When an ESA is not kept warm enough during winter, it may suffer in the following ways:

  • Hypothermia
  • Frostbite
  • Illness
  • Shivering and trembling
  • Anxiety
  • Sadness, depression
  • Death

Do Dogs Feel The Cold Like Humans?

Dogs absolutely feel the cold, just like humans. But not all breeds of dogs feel it to the same extent. Some dog breeds are very well suited to cold temperatures, and others are not.

Dogs that were bred to live in cold climates have thick coats and often carry more body fat. These dogs can handle much lower temperatures than short-haired, low-body-fat dogs who were not bred for living in cold climates.

Examples of dogs that can handle cold temperatures include Huskies, German Shepherds, and Saint Bernards. Examples of dogs that are not suited to cold temperatures include Chihuahuas, Shih Tzus, and Great Danes.

All dogs have their limits, and you’ll need to research the specific requirements of whatever ESA dog you have to find out what temperatures they are most comfortable in.

Do Cats Need Heat In Winter?

Cats feel the cold too. They are generally well-suited to moderately chilly temperatures, due to their furry coat, but they should not be left outside in temperatures below 45 degrees Fahrenheit for any extended period of time. If an ESA cat is exposed to temperatures below freezing, they are susceptible to hypothermia and frostbite.

How Can I Keep My Pet Warm In The Winter?

It is crucial to your ESA’s health and wellbeing that it is warm and comfortable during the winter months. How much warmth your ESA needs, and how you should go about keeping it warm, depends on the species of ESA you own. Whether your ESA lives indoors or outdoors is another important factor in how you should go about keeping it warm in winter.


Some people keep their ESA dog indoors, while others live outdoors. “How can I keep my outside dog warm in freezing weather?” is a common question. Whether you keep your ESA dog outdoors or indoors in winter will depend on its breed. Do your research and find out what temperatures your ESA is most comfortable in.

Some good ways to keep your ESA dog warm in winter are:

  • Provide it with a doggy sweater/jacket and perhaps some boots
  • Make sure it has a cozy shelter with warm bedding if it is living outdoors
  • Make sure it has a warm basket if living indoors
  • Make sure the temperature in your home is warm enough
  • Bring an outdoors dog inside if the temperature is especially cold
  • Go on more frequent but shorter walks
  • Make sure your dog is wearing a microchip and collar


ESA cats usually live indoors. They are not able to withstand temperatures below 45 degrees Fahrenheit for extended periods of time. Make sure your cat is indoors when the weather is cold. Inside, provide your ESA cat with a warm basket and enough food and water.

Moosh - cat in winter
Image by rihaij on Pixabay: ESA cats can suffer frostbite in freezing temperatures.

ESA Pot-bellied Pig

Pot-bellied pigs are better suited to living indoors, especially when the weather is cold. Pot-bellied pigs do not handle extreme cold well, so make sure your ESA pig is indoors and cozy in winter. It’s important to take your pig outside every day for exercise, play, and rooting, but when it is cold outside, do this for shorter and more frequent periods. Pot-bellied pigs can wear sweaters when playing outside in the cold (and look super cute in them as a bonus).

ESA Miniature Horse

Miniature horses can live outdoors or indoors. They are hardy animals and grow thick coats in winter. However, if your ESA miniature horse lives outside, make sure it has shelter in the form of a warm stable with comfortable bedding.

How Can You Get An Emotional Support Animal Letter?

Getting an emotional support pet letter is a quick and easy process. The best way to get your ESA letter is to arrange an online consultation with a state-licensed mental health professional through Moosh. Once the mental health professional has verified your condition and concluded that you would benefit from ESA treatment, you will be sent your own ESA letter straight away.

Featured image by ClaudiaWollesen on Pixabay