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Ten tips to keep pets and their people safe this winter

It’s getting cold in Southern Utah! For humans, that means extra layers of scarves, hats, and jackets. For those with pets, it’s preparing to keep everyone warm while dealing with the winter elements that can post a particular danger to our four-legged family members.

snow dog
As furry as they are, dogs get cold too! Photo courtesy of Best Friends Animal Society.

Best Friends Animal Society offers 10 tips to help people and their pets stay as safe as possible:

  • Keep your pets inside during extreme temperatures. Once the temperature drops below 20 degrees Fahrenheit, pets are at risk of developing hypothermia or frostbite.

  • Dogs and cats’ paws, ears, and tails are the most common areas that pets can develop frostbite – especially if those areas are wet.

  • If a pet needs to spend time outside during extreme temperatures, keep both walks and potty breaks short.

  • Use plastic water bowls for outdoors. A pet’s tongue may stick to metal, and they could injure themselves when trying to pull away.

  • Chemicals used to melt snow and ice can injure or irritate the pads of pet’s feet. Look for pet-friendly ice melt products and steer clear of antifreeze which is toxic to pets.

  • Gently wipe their feet with a damp towel once they are back inside to avoid a trip to the veterinarian. Wearing boots can protect paws from irritating salt on the street.

  • Many dogs, particularly those with short coats, will be more comfortable if they have a sweater or coat on. If a dog frequently lifts their paws, whines or stops during walks, it is probably because their feet are cold.



  • Be particularly careful when taking older, arthritic animals and small pets outside. They may become stiff and tender quickly and often find it difficult to walk on the snow or ice.

  • Don’t let dogs off the leash during a snowstorm. No matter how much they want to play in the snow, they can easily lose their scent and become lost.

  • Always make sure dogs are wearing ID tags and are microchipped before you take them out.

  • Always check under the hood of a car’s engine - a favorite hiding space for community cats. Check underneath a car, bang on the hood and honk the horn before starting the engine to make sure a cat hasn’t taken up temporary housing there.

Don’t have a pet? Now is the perfect time to adopt or foster a pet in need. Shelters across the country are at capacity due to less people adopting. Every time you adopt, you are saving two lives: the life of the pet you adopt, as well as opening space for another homeless dog or cat to be taken in by shelters and rescue groups.


Best Friends Animal Sanctuary is open daily from 8 a.m. - 5 p.m., so come visit for a free tour or to meet our awesome pets awaiting adoption and foster. For adoptions, visit the Welcome Center or Roxy’s Room just a mile from the entrance at 5001 Angel Canyon Road, Kanab or the Adoption Hub, open daily from 10 a.m. - 12 p.m. and 1 - 4 p.m., on Rhonda Road. For more info or to preview adoptable pets, visit bestfriends.org or call (435) 688-2327.

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