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Cold-weather Care for Pets

Cats and dogs can experience the same physical chill you do when it’s cold outside. when the temperature falls this winter, keep these tips in mind when caring for your pet:

  • If you’re bundled up and getting cold, your pet probably is, too. Bring them inside with you whenever possible. If you must leave them outside, give them shelter from the elements and warm bedding (see resources below).
  • If you or your neighbors have cats who stay outside, make sure the cat’s not napping near your warm car engine by visually checking or making noise, like knocking on the hood.
  • After taking your dog for a walk, wipe their paws with a wet, warm cloth. Salt from the sidewalks can make their pads sensitive and upset their digestive tract when they lick their paws.
  • Make sure your pet is properly hydrated. If you must leave your pet outside, be sure their water doesn’t freeze. If an animal can’t find clean drinking water, they’re more likely to drink out of puddles of antifreeze or other toxic chemicals.

Remember that Indianapolis law requires appropriate shelter, ventilation and protection from heat and cold for animals, along with other basic care.

Check out these other local resources in Indianapolis:

F.I.D.O. (Friends of Indianapolis Dogs Outside)
This volunteer group offers help and advice on improving the quality of life for companion dogs who live outside, and may offer dog houses and warm bedding for dogs whose owners face financial difficulty.

Offers assistance for stray and feral cats in Central Indiana. Check out their tips on how to build simple shelters for cats.

Emergency Vet Care
Check out this map and list of veterinary hospitals offering emergency pet care in Indy. (Please note that IndyHumane doesn’t offer emergency veterinary services to the public.)

Remember to take your pet to the vet for regular care, and to ask for their help at the earliest signs of health problems at any time of year.