Animal Joy: Protect Your Pet From Extreme Cold

“All beings tremble before violence. 
All fear death, all love life. See 
yourself in others. Then whom can 
you hurt? What harm can you do?”
 – Buddha

It’s no coincidence that I came across this article from The Humane Society of the United States about protecting our pets from frigid winter temperatures. I posted it on exactly 3 years ago during a relatively mild January. Compared to the dangerously frigid arctic tundra we’ve been trapped under since the new year – 2011 has nothing on 2014!


At 830 last night it was 5 degrees with slamming 30 mile per hour winds. I stood shivering, swaddled in my husbands warmest winter coat, as my 3 four-legged boys, also wrapped in wool, dashed into the frigid blizzard. Adam, Frank and Louie are of the fortunate; able to relieve themselves on a path blanketed with fresh straw to keep their paws from freezing up during the process.

Watching them, I feared for all the cats and dogs shaking painfully, if not already frozen to death because their undeserving owners don’t have an ounce of compassion for their well-being and/or, are just simply stupid beyond belief.

I’m distraught and angered by the staggering number of neglected animals this winter – many frozen to death. It’s not possible for the hundreds of volunteers to reach every neglected animal out there. Searching out neglected animals in backyards, knocking on doors and begging owners to bring the dogs inside has been the constant burden of these kind hearted souls. On a daily mission to bring straw, blankets, food and water daily to those left helpless and alone has been heroic in these temperatures – I applaud them. The volunteers are at least properly dressed; well-fed, most with a warm loving home to return to.

Enduring the frigid seemingly never-ending deep freeze that is Michigan’s winter is difficult for humans to tolerate, let alone animals. Remember, if you dread venturing outside during icy cold weather, so will your animals.

“The best prescription for winter’s woes is to keep your dog or cat inside with you and your family. The happiest dogs are those who are taken out frequently for walks and exercise but kept inside the rest of the time. Dogs and cats are social animals who crave human companionship. Your animal companions deserve to live indoors with you and your family”. HSUS

The most effective way to channel my anger and concern is by taking positive action to protect them; continually reaching out to pet owners and their neighbors – enlightening their hearts. Hopefully guiding them to understand the needs of our non-human friends. Please help, join my mission and share this article!

Always love,



The HSUS offers tips to keep pets safe as blizzards hit northern Midwest. The Humane Society of the United States urges pet owners to take extra precautions this winter to ensure the safety of their companion animals. In many areas, winter is a season of bitter cold and numbing wetness and can pose serious health risks to family pets.

“Animals rely solely on their human caregivers for safety and comfort – especially during the winter months,” said Betsy McFarland, senior director of companion animals for The HSUS. “Our pets are particularly vulnerable during this frigid season, and with just a few extra precautions you can help make sure that they stay safe and healthy.”

The best prescription for winter’s woes is to keep your dog or cat inside with you and your family. The happiest dogs are those who are taken out frequently for walks and exercise but kept inside the rest of the time. Dogs and cats are social animals who crave human companionship. Your animal companions deserve to live indoors with you and your family.

In many jurisdictions, leaving a domestic animal outside during extreme cold, without access to shelter, food and/or water, violates state or local animal cruelty laws.

Help keep your pet safe during the colder months by following these simple guidelines.

Don’t leave pets outdoors when the temperature drops. Dogs and cats are safer indoors, except when taken out for supervised exercise. Regardless of the season, shorthaired, very young, or old dogs and all cats should never be left outside without supervision. Short-coated dogs may feel more comfortable wearing a sweater during walks.

Pets who spend a lot of time outdoors need more food in the winter because keeping warm depletes energy. Routinely check your pet’s water dish to make certain the water is fresh and unfrozen. Use plastic food and water bowls rather than metal; when the temperature is low, your pet’s tongue can stick and freeze to metal. Heated plastic pet water bowels are also a good option to keep water from freezing and can be purchased where pet supplies are sold.

Warm engines in parked cars attract cats and small wildlife, who may crawl up under the hood. To avoid injuring any hidden animals, bang on your car’s hood to scare them away before starting your engine.

The salt and other chemicals used to melt snow and ice can irritate the pads of your pet’s feet and may be harmful if ingested. Wipe the feet with a damp towel before your pet licks them to remove snow packed between your pet’s paws. Pet-friendly ice melts are available at many pet supply stores across the nation or online.

Antifreeze is a deadly poison, but it has a sweet taste that can attract animals and children. Wipe up spills and store antifreeze (and all household chemicals) out of reach. Better yet, use antifreeze-coolant made with propylene glycol, which is less toxic in small amounts than traditional ethylene glycol antifreeze.

No matter what the temperature, wind chill can threaten a pet’s life. A dog or cat is happiest and healthiest when kept indoors. If your dog spends significant time outdoors, however, he/she must be protected by a dry, draft-free doghouse that is large enough to allow the dog to sit and lie down comfortably, but small enough to hold in his/her body heat. The floor should be raised a few inches off the ground and covered with cedar shavings or straw. The house should be turned to face away from the wind, and the doorway should be covered with waterproof burlap or heavy plastic.

If you’re feeding feral cats, be sure to provide an insulated shelter for them. Information about building a shelter, spaying and neutering, and more is available at

If heavy snow or power outages force people to leave their homes, be sure to take your pet or pets with you.

The Humane Society of the United States is the nation’s largest animal protection organization — backed by 10.5 million Americans, or one of every 30. For more than a half-century, The HSUS has been fighting for the protection of all animals through advocacy, education and hands-on programs. Celebrating animals and confronting cruelty — On the Web at

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