How to Protect Pets From the Cold Weather

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Cold weather does not just affect humans; it affects cats and dogs too. Pet owners should use caution when temperatures drop below freezing. Listed below are cold weather tips that could save your dog’s life.

Provide proper shelter for your pet whether they live indoors or outdoors. Indoor pets should have their bed or crate placed in a safe and warm place that is away from drafts.

Outdoor pets should have a well insulated house that is wind and waterproof resistant and elevated off the ground so wind and moisture can’t seep inside. Install a door flap to protect against drafts and gusts of wind. Extra blankets and straw will also help to increase your pet’s warmth. Room and floor heaters should be kept away from your pet as they are an obvious fire hazard and can cause serious injuries as well.

Provide fresh, clean water for your dog every day. Outdoor pets need to consume 25 to 50 percent more calories than usual because the cold weather tends to deplete their energy.

Never leave your dog (or cat) alone in a car during the winter months. They will freeze to death since a vehicle can act as a refrigerator.

*If you have a cat, keep him indoors during the winter. Not only can outdoor cats freeze, they sometimes sleep under the hoods of cars to stay warm. When the motor is started, the cat can be injured or killed by the fan belt. Give an outdoor cat a chance to escape by banging loudly on the car hood before starting your car.

Short-haired dog breeds will need protective clothing like a Snuggie or a doggy sweater.
*Tip: Do not shave your dog in the winter. He needs his fur to keep him warm.

Pets are attracted to the sweet smell and taste of antifreeze which contains ethylene glycol. A tiny lick can kill your dog (or cat) so make sure to check your car for leaks on your driveway or gutter. Keep containers tightly closed and clean up spills immediately. Check your local retailer for “pet safe” antifreeze.


  • In the event of an emergency, contact your pet’s veterinarian or drito the nearest emergency animal hospital.
  • If you see anyone who is not providing adequate shelter for their dog, report it immediately by phoning your ASPCA. You may report cruelty or neglect anonymously.

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