Breaking News
More () »

Important tips to keep pets safe from the bitter cold

When temperatures dip below freezing, it’s best to bring your four-legged friends in from the cold.
Credit: Stock photo

HOUSTON — No one wants to be outside when it’s miserably cold, including our pets.

Just like us, they’re not used to such low temperatures in Southeast Texas.

When temperatures dip below freezing, it’s best to bring four-legged friends in from the cold.

“Do not disregard or abandon your pet, especially during this freeze, as it could have dire consequences,” said Adam Reynolds, the Houston SPCA’s chief animal cruelty investigator. “Not only is it cruel, but it’s against state law.”

With this arctic blast moving this way, the Houston SPCA has important tips for keeping animals safe.

RELATED: Arctic blast update: Temps well below freezing expected in Houston area; ice, sleet and snow possible

Pet safety tips

  • It is strongly recommended that all companion animals be brought indoors, or at least in an enclosed structure with blankets.
  • Outdoor pets should have a shelter or doghouse that will protect them from the wind and is elevated. Add in blankets, towels or hay to keep them warm and dry.
  • If a pet is living outdoors during extreme weather, they need extra food. Animals need to consume 25 to 50 percent more calories than usual because the cold weather tends to deplete their energy.
  • Make sure to provide fresh water for your pet and use plastic food and water bowls because their tongue can stick to metal and the water can freeze.
  • A car can act as a refrigerator in the winter. Never leave your dog or cat alone in a car during the winter months.
  • Keep your cats indoors during cold weather as they may sleep under the hoods of cars to stay warm. When the motor is started, the cat can be injured or killed by the fan belt. Give an outdoor cat a chance to escape by banging loudly on the car hood before starting your car.
  • When taking care of your car’s winter needs, be sure to use “pet safe” antifreeze since most cats and dogs are attracted to the sweet smell and taste of antifreeze, which is lethal to them.
  • A pet’s age, breed or health may impact how they tolerate extreme temperatures.
  •  If you have horses or farm animals, be sure they have access to a barn or a three-sided structure with a roof so they can escape the wind and cold.
  • While not all horses will need to be blanketed, blankets will help horses keep warm and dry, especially in the rain or freezing temperatures.
  • Frequently check water troughs and buckets to ensure the water is not frozen.
  • Provide access to extra grain and hay if no grazing is available.
  • Feed your horse unlimited forage during extreme cold to help them increase and regulate their body temperatures.
  • If you see an animal in immediate distress, call 713-869-7722(SPCA) or fill out a cruelty form at www.houstonspca.org.

Before You Leave, Check This Out