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From Animal Humane Society

Keeping Pets Safe During Colder Weather

As winter settles in across the state, Animal Humane Society urges pet owners to think twice when letting pets outside for extended periods of time. Temperatures below freezing along with wind chill can prove deadly for our domesticated friends.

The following are tips to keep your pets safe during the cold winter months:

Indoor pet tips:

  • During severe weather, dogs should be let out only to relieve themselves. Cats should be kept indoors most of the time.
  • Make sure your pet’s bed is not on the floor in a cold or drafty area of your home.
  • Indoor dogs typically receive less exercise during cold weather and therefore may require fewer calories; feed smaller portions in order to avoid weight gain.

Outdoor pet tips:

  • Outdoor pets typically need more food in cold weather because they must burn more calories to keep warm.
  • Check for frostbite, especially on paws and ears.
  • Make sure your pet’s water is never frozen.
  • Keep an eye out for and clean up all antifreeze spills—one lick of the sweet-tasting fluid can be fatal to an animal.
  • Cats have been known to climb onto vehicle engines for warmth; knock on the hood of your car before starting the engine if you suspect your cat could be inside.
  • Watch for signs of hypothermia—weak pulse, dilated pupils, decreased heart rate, extreme shivering, pale or blue mucous membranes, body temperature below 95 degrees, stupor and unconsciousness. Consequences of extreme hypothermia may include neurological problems including coma, heart problems and kidney failure.
If you have additional questions or concerns about how to care for your pet in colder temperatures, please check with your veterinarian.