Tips to Keep Your Pet Safe During Cold Weather

Although pets have fur coats, their fur does not provide much warmth and they still get cold during winter months. Pets left outside in extreme temperatures are at risk for hypothermia, frostbite and death. Leaving your pet out in the cold without proper shelter is considered neglect and is illegal in Atlanta. Follow these tips to keep your pet happy and safe during colder months!


Keep Your Pet Inside

Wind chill makes the air colder than actual temperature readings, so limit your pet’s time outdoors, especially to prevent frostbite on ears, tail and feet. Make sure to gradually exposure your pet to dropping temperatures, instead of exposing them to the extreme cold all at once. Don’t forget to dry your pet when they come back in, especially the paws, to prevent tiny cuts and cracked pads.


Beware Of Antifreeze And Rock Salt

Antifreeze, which often collects on driveways and roads, tastes good to pets but is poisonous. If you suspect your pet has ingested antifreeze, contact your veterinarian immediately! Also, rock salt is used to melt ice on sidewalks and can irritate footpads. Be sure to rinse and dry your pet's feet after being outside, and consider buying pet-safe ice melts, sold at pet stores, that get the job done, but will not harm your pets.



Help Out Community Cats

When it is cold outside, outdoor cats often look for any warm space they can find. Cats who seek shelter under the hoods of cars are often injured or killed when the car is started. Before you start your car, honk your horn to give cats a chance to escape. Also, help community cats by building them an insulated shelter with a styrofoam cooler fill with straw (no blankets because they freeze).


Consider Cold-Weather Gear

Grass and pavement are frequently covered with frozen dew during the early mornings and late evenings. To help protect your dog's paw pads, consider purchasing dog booties for your dog to wear when walking your dog. Many pet stores sell them and recommend that you measure your dog's paw to ensure a proper fit. The booties may take some getting used to, but your dog, and their paws, will thank you!


Serve Up The Spa Treatment

If your dog's paws happen to get cracked or cut due to the cold weather, there are many paw soothing products that can provide relief. Look for products that contain natural ingredients, as your pet may be inclined to lick the product while on their paws. Also consider purchasing fleece blankets and cozy pet beds to give your pet some extra warmth while indoors.


Provide Plenty Of Food And Water

It takes more energy to keep warm in the winter, so feed your pet extra food if they spend a lot of time outdoors. Also, provide plenty of fresh water as your pet is just as likely to get dehydrated in the winter as in the summer. Outside water bowls will freeze, so refill outside bowls often.


Dog House

Provide Adequate Shelter for Outdoor Pets

If your dog lives outdoors, you must provide a well-insulated and draft-free doghouse. The opening should face south with a sturdy, flexible covering to prevent icy winds from entering. Keep straw, NOT hay, since it retains moisture, inside the doghouse. Avoid towels and blankets which can easily dampen and make the space colder.



If you are in need of assistance with the resources needed to keep your pet warm, please contact LifeLine Animal Project at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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LifeLine Animal Project

Founded in 2002 and now managing DeKalb and Fulton County Animal Services, LifeLine Animal Project is the leading non-profit organization working to end the euthanasia of healthy and treatable dogs and cats in metro Atlanta shelters. Together, we will make Atlanta a no-kill community.

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