Keep pets in mind on cold days

Published 5:07 pm Saturday, January 4, 2014

By Carey Sharp

Mower County Humane Society

It is a simple truth that domesticated dogs and cats are dependent upon people for their basic needs: food, water, and shelter. This is especially important to remember now that frigid, winter temperatures have arrived.

Email newsletter signup

Cats and dogs should have limited exposure to the extreme cold. Their lives could depend on it.

It would be wonderful if all cats and dogs could enjoy a warm bed inside a house every single day and night. Sadly, this is not the case. The MCHS receives a large number of calls regarding animals outside during extremely cold weather. One such call resulted in a volunteer venturing out on New Year’s Eve to pick up a stray dog that had been injured. The dog had spent hours hiding under a porch in subzero temperatures. He is now safe at the MCHS.

Cats and dogs do not have an internal thermostat to regulate their body temperatures. They can succumb to the cold. Although they wear “fur coats”, their paws, ears, and tails are susceptible to frostbite and freezing. The MCHS has taken in dogs with frostbite scars and cats that were found frozen to the ground.

Dogs that are kept outside must have shelter. Doghouses should be insulated. A dog should be able to sit, stand up, and turn around inside the house. It should be elevated off the ground a few inches to prevent seepage and filled with clean, dry bedding. The door of the house should also have a windbreak.

Domesticated cats are usually content to stay inside the house. It’s much safer for them in the long run. If allowed outside, they need to be leashed and the time needs to be limited.

Any animal outside needs clean, unfrozen drinking water. Snow and ice are not substitutes and can be hazardous. Not only can snow and ice drastically lower body temperature, but they can also contain dangerous chemicals found in certain ice melt products. Truly, the safest place for a cat or dog in cold weather is in the house with its people.

The MCHS is hosting the Minesota Spay and Neuter Assistance Program on Jan. 24 at our facility. This wonderful program provides low cost spay and neuter surgeries, vaccinations, and micro chipping for income eligible residents. Dog appointments are full for the January clinic, but there are still cat appointments available. Please go to or call 612-720-8236 for appointment scheduling and requirements.

The annual Pasta Dinner and Silent/Live Auction will be held from 4 to 7 p.m. on Sun., Feb. 16, at the Holiday Inn in Austin. This event is one of the biggest fundraisers for the MCHS and always a fun time. Please join us.

As always, the MCHS is grateful for donations in memory of Ray Wolf, Joe Strommer, John Anker, Jan Hoy, and “Taz” Hueman.