For Immediate Release:
October 30, 2023
Brittney Williams 202-483-7382
Norfolk, Va. – As an arctic blast threatens much of the country—with record-breaking below-average temperatures expected—here’s PETA’s tips for keeping animals safe. Dogs and cats are especially vulnerable in cold weather and winter storms, which lead to multiple deaths, injuries, and near-miss rescues each year. (And most incidents aren’t even reported.) A glimpse of just some of the dogs PETA’s fieldworkers have found suffering in the cold can be seen here.
The following steps can go a long way toward helping animals survive cold weather.
- Bring them indoors: Companion animals should always live indoors. Dogs who are kept chained outside and “outdoor cats”—like those featured in Breaking the Chain, a documentary produced by Oscar winner Anjelica Huston—often go without adequate food, water, shelter, and veterinary care. They’re no better equipped to survive freezing temperatures or extreme weather conditions than humans are, they suffer terribly from frostbite, and they can die from exposure.
- Gear up: Coats will keep dogs comfortable in cold weather —just (be sure to remove wet jackets the moment dogs return), home—secure harnesses can help prevent them from getting loose on walks, and booties will protect their sensitive paw pads from the frozen ground. Keep walks short in cold weather, especially for shorthaired dogs.
- Don’t forget wildlife: During extreme winter weather, provide birds and other wild animals with access to an emergency water supply by filling a heavy nonmetal water bowl (tongues can freeze to metal) and breaking the surface ice at least twice a day.
Good Samaritans who see companion animals kept chained or penned outside 24/7 or without adequate shelter from the elements should note the animals’ exact location and alert local law-enforcement authorities immediately. Anyone who leaves animals outside to suffer in severe weather may be prosecuted.
A dog is chained outside in the cold and snow Photo: PETA