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Winter Pet Safety

When the weather outside turns cold and snowy, Arvada Animal Management reminds you to think about your pet's safety and recommends the following guidelines to protect your companion animal:

All Pets

  • Thoroughly wipe off your pet's legs and stomach when they come in out of the sleet, snow or ice. Salt, antifreeze or other chemicals could hurt your dog if ingested while licking their paws.
  • Never leave your dog or cat alone in a car during the cold weather. A car can act as a refrigerator in the winter, holding in the cold. Your companion animal could freeze to death.
  • Make sure your companion animal has a warm place to sleep and is far away from drafts and off the floor. You should consider a dog or cat bed or basket with a warm blanket or pillow in it.
  • Keep antifreeze out of reach. Antifreeze, even in very tiny doses is a lethal poison for dogs and cats. Unfortunately, because of its sweet taste, animals are attracted to it. Be sure to thoroughly clean up any spills from your vehicle. To prevent accidental poisoning; more and more people are using animal friendly products that contain propylene glycol rather than traditional products containing ethylene glycol. Call your veterinarian or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center (1-888-4ANI-HELP) if you suspect your animal has been poisoned.


  • Outdoor cats can freeze in cold temperatures and should be kept indoors if possible.
  • Remember that during the winter, outdoor cats sometimes choose to sleep under the hoods of cars where it is warmer. Before starting your car you should bang loudly on the hood and wait a few seconds to give the cat a chance to escape.


  • Keep them on the leash when outside
    • Never let your dog go onto "frozen" lakes or ponds. Water that appears to be frozen can easily break through under the weight of a dog.
    • Never let your dog off the leash on snow or ice, especially during a snowstorm. Dogs frequently lose their scent in snow and ice and can easily become lost. More dogs are lost in the winter than any other season, so make sure they always wear I.D. tags.
  • Short-haired breeds: If you have a short haired breed, consider getting a warm coat or sweater with a high collar or turtleneck for your dog. Look for one that covers the dog from the base of the tail on top to the belly underneath. 
  • Cold weather sensitivities: if your dog is sensitive to the cold due to age, illness or breed type, take them outdoors only long enough to relieve themselves.
  • House breaking puppies during the winter: puppies do not tolerate the cold as well as adult dogs and may be difficult to housebreak during the winter.
  • Winter feeding: if your dog spends a lot of time engaged in outdoor activities, increase their supply of food, particularly protein, to keep their fur thick and healthy.

For more Pet Care tips, visit Foothills Animal Shelter at tips.


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