All pets need adequate shelter from the elements and insulation against cold weather. Just like humans, pets can suffer from hypothermia and frostbite and should not be left outside for long periods of time in extreme cold weather.
“The best of all worlds is to bring them inside, but if you can’t you need to provide them a water proof, wind proof place to go to get out of the elements,” said Nancy Cox, of the Marshall County Humane Society. “They need some sort of insulation too and straw is best. It’s a good insulator and it’s dry and hollow. They can drag blankets and things out into the snow where they get wet. You can also hang up a rug or something in the opening.”
Be careful not to use a heat lamp, space heater or other device not approved for use with animals.
“You need to give them fresh water,” said Cox. “I would give them just what they can drink so it doesn’t get icy. Also give them a little extra food this time of year. It helps keep their body heat up.”
“If you have feral cats around it isn’t a bad idea to put a box out for them, otherwise they will get up on your engine. They will find any place that’s warm. Try to remember to bang on the hood or honk the horn of your car to scare them off before you start it.”
“Another thing to remember is to keep a towel or something around to wipe your pets feet off with when they come in from outside. The salt is hard on their feet.”