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Vanderburgh Humane Society Urges the Public to Protect Pets During Cold Winter Months

-VHS Staff

As the threat of winter weather heads towards the Tri-State, it’s important to make sure your pets are prepared.  Temperatures have recently dipped below the freezing mark, and not much of a warm-up is in sight.  The absolute best way to protect your pet is to keep them indoors with their family.  However, if this is not an option, here are a few tips to keep your animals safe and comfortable throughout the cold winter months.


  • Your best bet is to keep your pets inside with you. But if you have outdoor dogs or cats they need adequate shelter from the elements. They need enough room to stand up and turn around but not so much that they can’t retain their body heat. The floor should be raised off the ground a couple of inches with hay or straw as a bed. A blanket can become wet and frozen making the pet even colder.
  • Outdoor animals need more calories in the winter to help produce more body heat, while indoor pets need less to avoid gaining weight during the less active winter months.
  • Beware of antifreeze. The sweet taste attracts animals and even a little bit can be lethal. Rinse off garage floors with water if some has been spilled. Be sure to store all unused chemicals out of reach of pets and children.
  • Wipe off your pets’ feet when they go out to the bathroom. Chemicals used to melt ice can irritate paws. You can put Vaseline on their pads before going out to protect them and then remove it upon reentering the home. Check your local pet store to find safe, pet friendly de-icers or make use of dog boots.
  • Never let your pets off the leash when walking them outside. They can lose their scent and become lost. Many animals are lost during the winter months. Make sure your pets have proper identification on their collars, and have them microchipped if they are not already.
  • Bring outdoor animals into your garage or basement when the temperature drops dangerously low.
  • Be sure to check drinking water often to make sure it hasn’t frozen. Heated water bowls are available to prevent frozen drinking water.
  • Neighborhood cats often seek shelter and warmth under the hood of cars. Always honk your horn and bang on/check under the hood before starting your car to avoid accidents.
  • Do you own a short-haired breed? You may want to consider getting a warm jacket or sweater for them to wear.
  • Don’t shave your dog’s fur down to the skin in winter. They need their fur for insulation, and always make sure they are completely dry after a bath.
  • Never leave your dog unattended in the car. The car can become like a refrigerator and your pet could freeze to death.
  • Often with the threat of inclement weather, people often take the opportunity to stock up on necessary supplies for their houses and cars. Don’t forget to pick up some things for your pets as well.


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