Companion Animals Are Dying in Cold Weather—These Are the Reported Cases

Last updated on January 13, 2023:

The number of dogs and other companion animals who have reportedly died from causes related to cold weather since 2022:

35

Every year, PETA receives reports about dogs, cats, and other animals who died or had to be rescued after being left outdoors in cold weather—and these are just the incidents that were reported. Most aren’t.

Year Deaths Rescues Incidents
2023 1 28 See the list.
2022 34 361 See the list.
2021 22 475 See the list.
2020 6 77 See the list.
2019 37 322 See the list.
2018 43 34 See the list.

The following list is a compilation of cold weather–related deaths of companion animals reported by the media as of 2023:

Date Location Notes Number of Dogs and Other Animals Who Died
1/8/2023 Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada Firefighters rescued a dog from a partially frozen pond. Another dog fell through the ice and wasn’t recovered. 1

The following list is a compilation of cold weather–related rescues of companion animals reported by the media as of 2023:

Date Location Notes Number of Dogs and Other Animals Who Were Rescued
1/10/2023 Clearwater, British Columbia, Canada Fifteen neglected and emaciated dogs were seized from a property after being left in subzero temperatures without food or water. 15
1/10/2023 Pueblo, Colorado Firefighters rescued a dog from a partially frozen lake. 1
1/8/2023 Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada Firefighters rescued a dog from a partially frozen pond. Another dog fell through the ice and wasn’t recovered. 1
1/5/2023 Danville, Vermont Firefighters rescued a dog, their guardian, and an attempted rescuer from a partially frozen pond. 1
1/5/2023 Canterbury, New Hampshire Firefighters rescued a dog from a partially frozen pond. 1
1/3/2023 Lebanon, Maine A good Samaritan rescued a dog from a partially frozen river. 1
1/3/2023 Wichita, Kansas Firefighters rescued a dog from a partially frozen river. 1
1/2/2023 Pike Creek, Delaware A dog and their guardian were rescued from a partially frozen pond. 1
1/2/2023 Cabery, Illinois Firefighters rescued a dog from a partially frozen pond. 1
1/1/2023 Fargo, North Dakota A kitten was rescued after being found frozen to the ground. 1
1/1/2023 West Fargo, North Dakota A dog was rescued after falling into a partially frozen river. 1
1/1/2023 Lac-Beauport, Québec, Canada A dog was rescued from a partially frozen lake. 1
1/1/2023 North Platte, Nebraska Divers rescued a dog from a partially frozen lake. 1

No animal should endure a cold weather–related death. It’s inexcusable.

As guardians, we must take these vital steps in order to protect our beloved animal family members:

1. Keep animals indoors.

Puppies and kittens, elderly animals, small animals, and dogs with short hair, including pointers, beagles, pit bulls, Rottweilers, and Dobermans, are particularly susceptible to the elements, but all animal companions should be kept warm and cozy indoors. Short-haired animals will also benefit from wearing warm sweaters or coats during brief trips outdoors.

2. Don’t allow your cat or dog to roam outdoors without supervision.

Being outside unattended is always dangerous for our animal companions, but cold weather poses even more risks. Cats can climb under the hoods of cars in order to get near warm engines and then be badly injured or killed when the vehicle is started.

3. Keep an eye out for strays.

If you see companion animals roaming the streets, bring them indoors until you can find their guardians, or take them to an animal shelter.

4. Clean dogs after they come in from the snow.

Salt and chemicals used to counter snow can make animals sick if they ingest them. Always clean off your dogs’ legs, paws, and stomach after they’ve been out in the snow. If you use antifreeze, buy a nontoxic brand like Sierra or Prestone LowTox.

5. If you see dogs left outdoors in extreme weather without proper shelter, alert the authorities.

Winter weather spells extra hardship for “backyard dogs,” who often go without adequate food, water, shelter, and veterinary care. If you see animals left outside without shelter from the elements, note their location and alert local authorities immediately.

6. Help all animals survive cold snaps.

During extreme winter conditions, you can provide birds and other wildlife with access to water by filling a heavy nonmetal water bowl (tongues can freeze to metal) and breaking the surface ice twice a day.

©iStock.com/Merrimon

When the weather improves, be sure to remove any food offerings in order to prevent the animals’ dependence on artificial feedings.

*****

Together, we can help drastically reduce the number of dogs and other animal companions who die in cold weather and even eliminate these tragedies altogether.

Animals are counting on us—as their guardians and as good Samaritans—to keep them safe. We can’t let them down.

Take Action Now

You can become an “Angel for Animals” by sponsoring a PETA doghouse. We provide lonely “outside dogs” with sturdy doghouses to shelter them in the rain and in the snow and freezing temperatures of winter. Click below to help:

Make sure that all your friends and family members know the potentially lifesaving cold-weather tips above:

Watch this video, listen to this radio clip, and check out this ad to learn more about the reasons why you should never leave a dog outside during cold weather.

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 Ingrid E. Newkirk

“Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights?” READ MORE

— Ingrid E. Newkirk, PETA President and co-author of Animalkind