ALL ABOUT DOGS and CATS Resource Center for Canine & Feline Lovers
ASPCA Tips for Cold Weather
The following guidelines will help you protect your companion animals when the mercury dips.
1. Keep your cat inside. Outdoors, felines can freeze, become lost or be stolen, injured or
killed. Cats who are allowed to stray are exposed to infectious diseases, including rabies, from
other cats, dogs and wildlife.
2. During the winter, outdoor cats sometimes sleep under the hoods of cars. When the motor
is started, the cat can be injured or killed by the fan belt. If there are outdoor cats in your
area, bang loudly on the car hood before starting the engine to give the cat a chance to
3. Never let your dog off the leash on snow or ice, especially during a snowstorm—dogs can
lose their scent and easily become lost. More dogs are lost during the winter than during any
other season, so make sure yours always wears ID tags.
4. Thoroughly wipe off your dog's legs and stomach when he comes in out of the sleet, snow
or ice. He can ingest salt, antifreeze or other potentially dangerous chemicals while licking his
paws, and his paw pads may also bleed from snow or encrusted ice.
5. Never shave your dog down to the skin in winter, as a longer coat will provide more
warmth. When you bathe your dog in the colder months, be sure to completely dry him before
taking him out for a walk. Own a short-haired breed? Consider getting him a coat or sweater
with a high collar or turtleneck with coverage from the base of the tail to the belly. For many
dogs, this is regulation winter wear.
6. Never leave your dog or cat alone in a car during cold weather. A car can act as a
refrigerator in the winter, holding in the cold and causing the animal to freeze to death.
7. Puppies do not tolerate the cold as well as adult dogs, and may be difficult to housebreak
during the winter. If your puppy appears to be sensitive to the weather, you may opt to paper-
train him inside. If your dog is sensitive to the cold due to age, illness or breed type, take him
outdoors only to relieve himself. Consider a thermal bed for him to sleep on.
8. Does your dog spend a lot of time engaged in outdoor activities? Increase his supply of
food, particularly protein, to keep him—and his fur—in tip-top shape.
9. Like coolant, antifreeze is a lethal poison for dogs and cats. Be sure to thoroughly clean up
any spills from your vehicle, and consider using products that contain propylene glycol rather
than ethylene glycol. Visit the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center for more information.
10. Make sure your companion animal has a warm place to sleep, off the floor and away from
all drafts. A cozy dog or cat bed with a warm blanket or pillow is perfect.