Cold Weather Risks to Pets


North Shore Animal League America Warns of Cold Weather Risks to Pets

Pet Safety is Our #1 Concern

 cold weather

Here is our best advice for keeping pets safe now that winter has arrived:

  • Know your pet’s limits when it comes to outside exposure.  Some breeds – Huskies, Alaskan Malamutes and German Shepherds, to name a few, do very well in the cold temperatures but still need to be kept inside when not on walks or outdoor breaks.  Other breeds – Chihuahuas, Poodles and Terriers, for example, should not be left out in the cold for long periods of time;
  • Rock salt is toxic and harmful to paws.  Use pet friendly ice melting products and/or booties. If they are exposed to rock salt, be sure to wipe off their feet, tummies and any exposed areas;
  • Antifreeze is fatal to humans and animals alike;
  • Fireplaces pose an additional indoor danger to animals – screens are a must to avoid flying sparks and flames. Pets need to be kept a safe distance from fireplaces and portable heaters to avoid overheating;
  • “Beef” up your pet’s diet in the winter – dogs and cats burn more calories in the cold weather staying warm. It’s important to balance their healthy diets with increased portions;
  • Check your pets’ water supply regularly.  If water bowls are left outside they may freeze barring your pet or neighborhood cats from access to fresh water;
  • Remember that outdoor cats need your help.  If you regularly feed outdoor animals consider using a Styrofoam cooler and straw to construct a makeshift shelter to help them weather the winter.

It is important to remember that pets are members of the family and should always be treated as such.  When it comes to extreme conditions – be it cold, rain, snow or storms -it’s always best to err on the side of caution.

To learn more about keeping your pet safe and healthy, and how you can help North Shore Animal League America sustain its mission to rescue, nurture and adopt nearly 20,000 orphaned animals into loving homes each year, visit

Feature photo by Missie, used under a creative commons license. No changes were made.


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