Public Safety Awareness

Winter Pet Safety Tips From Foremost

We shouldn’t be fooled by pets’ fluffy, fur coats or their unrelenting desire to go outside and play. Animals need to be protected from the cold temperatures this winter just as much as we do, but when the temperature starts to drop, it’s sometimes hard to tell how much outdoor time is too much. Here are some helpful tips and pointers that can help keep our furry friends protected from the cold and what to do if you suspect an animal is need of your help.

Keeping pets indoors:

  • It’s true that most house pets love getting outside for walks and daily exercise, but they are happiest when they are with you and that fact is multiplied when it is cold and frigid outside. Keep them inside with you and let them enjoy the warmth of your home as much as you do.
  • It can be easy to avoid going outside because of the temperature and then overlook the fact that some pets, especially dogs, still need to get outside to use the bathroom or burn some energy. You can shorten the amount of time spent outside because of the temperatures but be careful not to limit bathroom and play time too extremely. They can only hold it in for so long!
  • During extreme cold snaps, pets can be just as vulnerable to frostbite or hypothermia as we are, especially if there coats are not specifically suited to cold climates. Keep an eye on skin that is not covered with fur, like the noses and paws, and don’t feel silly about winter apparel for smaller pets. We know you’re just dying to put a sweater on your doggie anyway!
  • Avoid the urge to bring your pet along for visits to malls or grocery stores if they are going to be left in a cold vehicle for an extended amount of time. We know pets make excellent passengers on road trips but it’s just not fair or healthy for them to be left in cold automobiles.

pet safety

Pets who spend a lot of time outside:

  • If your dog or cat likes to spend much of their time outdoors, in your fenced in backyard for example, then extra precautions should be made. Provide them with a dry and draft-free pet shelter that is large enough for the animal to move around in but small enough to properly insulate body heat. The floor of the enclosure should be raised from the ground to keep out moisture and the opening or doorway should be covered with a thick material, like burlap or plastic, for extra warmth.
  • Pets who are frequently outside also need a bit more food than indoor types because keeping warm uses up a lot of energy. You should slightly increase their foot intake and make sure they always have plenty of drinking water available. Make sure to use plastic food and water containers for outdoor feedings because their tongues can get stuck to metal. Remember Schwartz from A Christmas Story? Let’s not let that happen to any of our furry friends.
  • Avoid any access to coolant fluid or other harmful chemicals. It is common for some people to keep dog houses or cat enclosures in open sheds or garages so pets can easily get out of cold weather or precipitation when outside. While this can be ideal for pets who love staying outside for long periods of time, there is a danger involved with them having access to harmful chemicals that you might keep inside your shed. Make sure any and all harmful chemicals, especially anti-freeze since it has a sweet smell, are completely out of reach and kept in pet-proof containers.

Speak out against pet abuse and neglect:

  • If you a see a stray animal or one who has been left to its own devices out in the cold, you should report it to your local animal control agency or county sheriff’s office. We know that this is easier said than done, especially if you know the people who have been neglecting their pet, but it’s the right thing to do and you will feel good about your actions in the long run. Note the amount of time the animal has been left outside for and take a photo if possible. This will be useful to responders from animal control.

Animals are at severe risk when they are left outside during winter and in need of immediate help. You may be the only person who has seen a particular animal in need and therefore the only person who can make a difference. Speak out against pets who are neglected in the cold and you could save a precious life.


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