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Pet Owners Advised to Prepare for Dangerous Winter Temperatures

As winter temperatures dip into the teens across Texas, the Austin Humane Society is encouraging pet owners to take immediate precautions. Extreme cold temperatures present great danger to pets, particularly those left outside. 

“When animals are faced with bitter cold winter temperatures, they can suffer without showing extreme symptoms,” says Dr. Katie Luke, Austin Humane Society Chief Veterinarian. “Please keep your pets inside tonight if you can. And be sure they have access to unfrozen water when outside.” 

With temperatures forecasted to reach into the teens Tuesday morning, AHS is asking you to help spread these tips to keep animals safe and warm.

  • Keep your pets inside. Texas pets are used to extreme summer temps, not winter freezes.
  • Make sure outside pets have a warm place to sleep. Keep them off the cold ground and away from the wind. A cozy pet house, complete with a roof and four walls, is essential.
  • Consider dressing your pet in a coat or sweater. Choose pet clothing that covers the neck, shoulders, back, belly and base of the tail. Pet booties work as well.
  • Provide access to fresh water. Check bowls to make sure the water has not frozen over.
  • Active pets need more food. Increase their supply of food. Calories help keep them warm.
  • Beware of hidden cats. Outdoor cats will sleep under the hoods of cars to keep warm. Bang loudly on the car hood before starting the engine. It will help give the cat a chance to escape. 
  • Exposed cold surfaces can freeze paws. When walking, try to stay on the grass.
  • Thoroughly wipe down your pets. They can ingest salt, antifreeze or other potentially dangerous chemicals while licking their paws.
  • Antifreeze is lethal to dogs and cats. If you suspect your pet has ingested something toxic, call your veterinarian or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at (888) 426-4435.