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Winter Is Here: Prepare Pets for Frigid Weather

Tips to keep furry friends safe in freezing temperatures

The days are shorter and freezing temps have arrived! As it drops down into the teens this week and snow hits the ground, it’s tempting to think your 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 Degrees and Below, Protect Fido!

Here are six tips to protect pets in cold temperatures:

 Bring pets inside: A common misconception that fur will protect a pet in cold weather is just that, a misconception. Just like people, cats and dogs are susceptible to hypothermia and frostbite and should not be left outside in the cold for prolonged periods of time, no matter the circumstance.

Provide a cozy space: If there are no other options and dogs are going to be left outdoors, owners must provide a well-insulated, draft-free, appropriately sized doghouse with a sturdy, flexible covering to prevent icy winds from entering.

Press “paws” on pet injuries: Check your animal’s paws frequently for signs of cold-weather damage, such as a cracked paw pad, redness between toes and any bleeding, especially after a walk.

Layer up your pup: If your dog has a thinner coat or seems bothered by cooler temperatures, consider a sweater or a dog coat. But be careful – a wet sweater or coat can actually make your dog colder, so keep it dry.

Prevent poisoning: Make sure to quickly clean up any antifreeze spills or buildup as it is poisonous and can cause serious health issues. Dry your pet off with a towel after they have been outside to remove ice, salt and chemicals.

Schedule a winter wellness exam: If your pet has not visited the veterinarian for their annual wellness exam, don’t delay. Cold weather may worsen certain medical conditions such as arthritis, so prepare your pet for the season by visiting the vet.

To report an animal in distress, call the Humane Society of Missouri Animal Cruelty Hotline at (314) 647-4400. For more information on how to care for your pets during cold weather months, visit the Humane Society of Missouri website at