Tabby cat sitting in the snow in front of a car, with the words Pet Winter Safety, Learn how to protect during snow storms and other winter weather. From Red Cross website.

The 4 Ps to remember during Winter Weather are: People, Pets, Plants, and Pipes

We've shared information on protecting yourself and your pipes, but don't forget about your pets during harsh winter weather.  It can be particularly difficult on  outdoor dogs, cats, and other pets.  If animals can't be brought indoors, provide a covered shelter with a good insulator such as straw (not hay), and be sure to check on them frequently. 

To help keep your entire family safe and warm, the Red Cross provides the following winter pet safety tips.

Top Tips for Winter Pet Safety

Red number one   If possible, bring your pets inside during cold winter weather. Move other animals or livestock to sheltered areas and make sure they have access to non-frozen drinking water.

Red number two   If the animals are outside, make sure their access to food and water is not blocked by snow drifts, ice or other obstacles.

The following tips on winter pet safety are provided by The Humane Society of the United States:

  •  If pets cannot come indoors, make sure they are protected by a dry, draft-free enclosure large enough to allow them to sit and lie down, but small enough to hold in the pet’s body heat.  *Raise the floor a few inches off the ground and *cover it with cedar shavings or straw. *Turn the enclosure away from the wind and *cover the doorway with waterproof burlap or heavy plastic.
  • Use plastic food and water bowls; when the temperature is low, your pet's tongue can stick and freeze to metal.
  • Salt and other chemicals used to melt snow and ice can irritate a pet’s paws and dogs are at particular risk of salt poisoning in winter due to the rock salt used in many areas if they lick their paws. Wipe their paws with a damp towel before your pet licks them and irritates their mouth.  Store de-icing salt in a safe place and wipe your dog’s paws, even after short walks.
  • Antifreeze is a deadly poison. Wipe up spills and store antifreeze out of reach.
  • If there are outdoor cats, either owned pets or community cats in your area, remember they need protection from the elements as well as food and water. It's easy to give them a hand.  You can make your own cat shelter quickly and easily with a plastic tub.
  • Cars are one of many hazards to small animals—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.