Cold Weather Pet Safety

Pets and livestock are just as susceptible to cold weather as people. Keep the other members of your family safe in winter weather with these tips:

  • Provide shelter. All animals, whether pets or livestock, should be provided access to shelter from the elements. In severe weather, bring your pet into your house or garage and livestock into a species-appropriate shelter.
  • Offer more food. Outdoor animals typically need more food in cold weather because they must burn more calories to keep warm.
  • Remove ice, salt and caked mud from your animal’s feet and coat.
  • Knock the hood. Cats have been known to climb onto vehicle engines for warmth; knock on the hood of your car before starting the engine.
  • Break the ice. Make sure your animal’s water isn’t frozen over.
  • 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.
  • License your pet. A license tag can be crucial in reuniting pets with their owners, especially in times of emergency.
  • Assemble a pet go bag. Just like your family should be prepared for emergency situations, your pet also needs an emergency supply kit. Check out Take Winter By Storm’s checklist for ideas.