Cold Weather Safety Tips for Pets

January 12, 2024

This weekend brings with it an arctic blast of frigid temperatures. Many think their pet’s fur will keep them warm while they’re outside. But remember – if it’s too cold for you, it’s too cold for your pet! The Humane Society of Missouri urges all pet owners to keep the safety of their four-legged friends top of mind this winter with our lifesaving motto: 35° and below? Protect Fido!

Here are a few tips to ensure that your pet is safe during the cold winter months:

Bring your pet inside
Wind chill makes the air colder than actual temperature reading. Limit your pet’s time outdoors to prevent frostbite on ears, tails and feet.

Beware of antifreeze
Antifreeze can collect on driveways and roadways. Although it smells and tastes good to your pet, it is highly poisonous and lethal. If you suspect your pet has ingested antifreeze, please contact your vet immediately!

Dry off wet pets
Dry your pets of any rain or snow and clean your pet’s paws. Rock salt, sand and chemicals used to melt ice can become embedded in paws causing pain.

Provide adequate shelter
Adequate shelter is mandatory by law. Provide an insulated and draft-free shelter. The opening should face south with a sturdy, flexible covering to prevent icy winds from entering. Insulate the shelter with cedar chips. Avoid towels which can easily dampen and make the space colder.

Sweaters only go so far
While a sweater may provide an extra layer of insulation for short haired dogs, most short haired breeds were built for warmer climates and their bodies will work overtime in cold weather to stay warm. Don’t assume that a cute sweater or your pup is enough to protect it from freezing temperatures.

Look for warning signs
If you are playing outside with your dog and notice any of the warning signs of hypothermia such as strong shivering and trembling, rapid or labored breathing, feet, ears and skin extremely cold to the touch, or lethargy, bring them inside right away. Dry them off with a towel and help them warm up with a blanket. If they show continued signs of stress, call your vet or our Animal Medical Center of Mid-America immediately at 314-951-1534.

If you see an animal in distress, please call your local police and our Animal Cruelty Hotline at 314-647-4400.

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