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Animal Humane Society: Tips for Keeping Pets Safe in Cold Weather


GOLDEN VALLEY, Minn.--  Tracie Jacobsen from the Animal Humane Society joined us this morning with some tips on caring for pets in winter. 

For more information about pet adoption, go online to 

The following are notes on how to keep your pets safe during the blistering cold winter months.

Indoor pet tips: 

  • During severe weather, dogs should be let out only to relieve themselves. 
  • Remove ice, salt and caked mud from your pet's paws and coat immediately. 
  • Before walks, put Vaseline or doggie shoes on your dogs' paws to protect him/her from sidewalk salt and chemicals; wipe the Vaseline off when your dog comes back inside. 
  • Make sure your pet's bed is not on the floor in a cold or drafty area of your home. 
  • Indoor dogs typically receive less exercise during cold weather and therefore may require fewer calories; feed smaller portions in order to avoid weight gain. 
  • Indoor exercise playgroups such as Yappy Hour at AHS are a great option.

Outdoor pet tips: 

  • In severe weather, allow your pet to be in your house or garage. 
  • Outdoor pets typically need more food in cold weather because they must burn more calories to keep warm. 
  • They MUST have a shelter that protects them from wind and water, is elevated so that moisture can't collect inside, and large enough for your pet to stand up and turn around, yet small enough to retain body heat. 
  • Check for frostbite, especially on paws and ears. 
  • Keep an eye out for and clean up all antifreeze spills-one lick of the sweet-tasting fluid can be fatal to an animal. 
  • Cats have been known to climb onto vehicle engines for warmth; knock on the hood of your car before starting the engine if you suspect a one could be inside. 
  • Make sure your pet's water is never frozen. 
  • Watch for signs of hypothermia-weak pulse, dilated pupils, decreased heart rate, extreme shivering, pale or blue mucous membranes, body temperature below 95 degrees, stupor and unconsciousness. Consequences of extreme hypothermia may include neurological problems including coma, heart problems and kidney failure.

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