Tri-Lakes Humane Society

Saving Little Lives and Speaking for Those Who Cannot since 1942.


Cold Weather Tips for Pet Owners

Posted by tlhsny on January 20, 2012 at 4:05 PM

With winter in full swing in Northern NY, we would like to offer a few simple tips to keeping your beloved pets safe and happy:

1. Do not leave dogs or cats outdoors in the cold, they are much safer indoors. When the temperature drops, the windchill can threaten an animal's life. They can get hypothermia just like humans, and this is especially true of short haired pets. Elderly and young pets are vulnerable as well, and should not be left outside in the cold unsupervised. Pets can also become wet from sitting in the snow which can cause hypothermia to set in much faster. Most pets would much rather have a nice comfy and warm bed inside to curl up on then having to sit out in the cold.

2. If you have a pet that likes to spend a lot of time outdoors, even in winter, you need to provide them with a shelter. You can purchase, or build, a dog or cat house that will fit the requirements for adequate escape from the elements. The pet shelter should be dry, insulated, and have a waterproof roof and floor. To prevent cold drafts, you should make sure the shelter is large enough for the pet to sit and lie down, but small enough to trap the pet's body heat. You should use straw, shavings or other removable dry bedding to line the shelter. The doorway to the shelter can be covered with waterproof plastic or a piece of tarp to keep the wind from entering.

Here is a link to a cool outdoor cat shelter that you can easily make:


3. In the winter months, pets need more food and water, as keeping warm takes a lot of energy. This is very important for outdoor pets. You should routinely check food and water dishes to make certain they have fresh, unfrozen water and food. Plastic dishes are better in the winter as pet's can freeze their tongues to metal.

4. Be careful about checking under and in your vehicle's engine. Small animals like cats have been known to climb into car engine areas seeking out the warmth. To avoid injuring a possible animal under your car, give a few good bangs on your hood to scare them out.

5. Avoid puddles and antifreeze. Antifreeze is a deadly poison, however animals like the sweet taste it has. If you happen to spill antifreeze, make sure you clean it up and store the bottles out of reach of pets. Do not let your pets drink from puddles that form near your home, as they may contain harmful chemicals.

6. Road salt and de-icers can also be an irritant to your pet's paws. When they come indoors, use a damp cloth to wipe off their paws. This will help remove anything that can cause them discomfort, and help them avoid ingesting the chemicals.

7. The best tip of keep your pets with you indoors, where they will have attention and be warm and safe. Happy pets are those who get supervised time outdoors for exercise and potty breaks, but get the chance to be inside the rest of the time. They rely on us to make sure they are safe.

If you see a pet in distress during the winter, you should contact your local animal shelter or police department to make a report. With your assistance these animals can be helped.

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