Tips to keep pets safe during bitter cold


A cat named Marilyn sits outside the leasing office at the University Oaks apartment complex on Tuesday, Jan. 29, 2019.

Tyler Haughn

If it’s too cold outside for you, it’s probably too cold for your pet.

Memorial Animal Hospital in Kent recommends limiting the amount of time your pet spends outside during icy temperatures.

It also recommends providing boxes with styrofoam stuffed inside for pets who primarily dwell outside so they can stay warm in the insulated boxes.

Minimizing your pet’s exposure to the majority of salts used to combat the ice on sidewalks can also help. Prolonged contact can cause chemical burns to form on dogs, their paw pads in particular. According to AccuWeather, sodium and calcium chloride are common ingredients used in most products. 

The Human Society of the United States gives these tips to protect pets during the deep freeze:

  • Bundle up your pet. Wind chill temperatures could threaten a pet’s life, especially short-haired pets. 
  • Speak out if you see a pet alone in the cold. Let the owner know you are concerned, and if nothing changes, here’s how to report wintertime neglect. 
  • Wipe down paws after coming in from outside. Salt can resonate on the paws, and if licked, it can be poisonous to the pet. 

The Animal Humane Society recommends:

  • Pets should only be let out to relieve themselves. 
  • Make sure your pet’s water is not frozen.
  • Cats tend to hide in or under cars for warmth. Check under the car and bang on the hood just in case. 
  • Watch for signs of hypothermia in your pet: extreme shivering, pale mucous membranes and dilated pupils. 
  • Check for frostbite, especially on paws and ears.

Tyler Haughn is a general assignment reporter. Contact him at [email protected].