The Official Houston SPCA Humane Education Blog

Teaching us about our animal friends

How to Keep Your Pets Safe When It Gets Chilly!

Well, Houston, it’s gotten quite chilly out there! Are your pets prepared for the cold?

dog in scarf

I’m ready for the cold, are you?

Here are some great tips on how to keep your pets safe and warm when the temps outside are low!


Provide proper shelter for your pets whether they live indoors or outdoors.

Indoor pets should have their bed or crate placed in a safe and warm place that is away from drafts.  You can add a few extra blankets to their bed to increase the warm and comfy factor!

Outdoor pets should have a well-insulated house that is wind-resistant, waterproof and elevated off the ground so wind and moisture can’t seep inside.  Install a door flap to protect against drafts and gusts of wind.  Extra blankets and straw will also help to increase your pet’s warmth when sleeping outside.


Remember, room and floor heaters should be kept away from your pet, as they are a fire hazard and can cause serious injuries if not careful.

Food & Water:

Make sure to provide fresh, clean water for your pet every day.

Also provide a healthy, well-balanced diet for your indoor and outdoor pets all year round.

Remember, outdoor pets need to consume 25 to 50 percent more calories than usual during the winter months because the cold weather tends to deplete their energy.

Make sure to talk to your veterinarian to learn what diet is right for your pet!

Cars are Refrigerators:

Did you know that a car can act as refrigerator in the winter?

Just like in the summer, never leave your dog or cat alone in a car!

Cats and Cars:

A pet cat finds shelter on the wheel of a car which was temporarily abandoned

Keep your cats indoors during the winter.  If outdoors, cats will sometimes 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.

When leaving for work or school, give an outdoor cat a chance to escape by banging loudly on the car hood before starting your car.

Keeping Warm:


If you have a short-haired breed of dog, consider getting him / her a sweater with a high collar or turtleneck that covers the base of the tail to the belly to keep him / her warm.  Never shave your dog down to the skin in the winter months, as a longer coat will provide more warmth.



You want to protect your car in the winter by checking your antifreeze but remember that cats and dogs are attracted to the sweet smell and taste of antifreeze, which contains ethylene glycol.  A tiny lick can kill your dog or cat, so make sure to check your car for leaks on your driveway or gutter. Keep containers tightly closed and clean up spills immediately. Check your local retailer for “pet safe” antifreeze.


Rat and mouse poisons are commonly used during the winter months.  To make sure your pet is not exposed to the poisons, place them out of reach, as they can cause fatal bleeding or organ failure in your pet.

The Houston SPCA encourages you to be especially mindful of your pets this winter and to keep telephone numbers for your veterinarian and a local emergency veterinary service in a convenient location.

So keep your pets nice and warm and give them a good snuggle!


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