Cold weather and your pets

First State Animal Center –SPCA provides life-saving tips for caring for animals during snow storm and cold weather

Dover, DE -- With snow, sleet and continuing cold temperatures(at night) forecasted in the next few days,  the First State Animal Center – SPCA (FSAC-SPCA), asks that dog and cat owners to make every effort to keep their pets safe, warm and dry.

According to officers at Delaware Animal Care and Control (DEACC), which is under the auspices of the First State Animal Center and SPCA, DEACC has received, on average,  about 150 calls daily related to animal care and the cold since last Wednesday.  Many of these calls are individuals calling about dogs being left out in the cold in their respective neighborhoods or spotted outside at a residence in the three counties.

Ideally, when the temperatures plummet and there is snow or sleet in the forecast, the pet should remain inside the owner’s home. However, those who must keep their pets outside  should follow the following specifications for the humane handling, care and treatment of their pet dogs and cats.

All outdoor housing facilities for pets should be structurally sound and safe for the animal, and the housing facility should fit the pet securely and restrict other animals from entering. The facility, or dog house, should preserve body heat, and keep them dry during the snow. Additional bedding needs to be provided for the animal when the temperature falls below 35 degrees or less. Some type of rubber/cloth covering, such as a thick, textured rug (kitchen or car mat) should be adhered to the door of the housing structure, to keep the snow out, but in such a way that the animal can get in and out of. The owner must check on the pet often during the storm, ensuring the pet has thawed water, and that it can go to the bathroom.  Adding a little sugar to the pet’s water will add calories to the pet’s diet, as they burn up more calories trying to stay warm.

If a pet owner has to keep the animal outside during bad weather, the owner must check regularly the pet’s water dish, to make sure the animal has access to fresh, thawed water, and additional bedding, which must be wood chips or straw, NOT blankets- the use of blankets is also against the law. “If the animal gets wet, so will the blanket, making the situation worse, possibly deadly-- for the animal,” FSAC-SPCA officials said.  

The mission of the First State Animal Center and SPCA is twofold: they protect animals from people, by prevention of cruelty and suffering, rescue of the trapped or injured, emergency medical treatment, temporary housing for homeless animals and the reduction of homeless pet overpopulation through targeted spay/neuter and education programs; and they protect people from animals through their commitment  in placing only stable, safe and well-adjusted animals into homes where they will thrive while simultaneously educating the public about responsible pet guardianship.

Information about the First State Animal Center and SPCA, a non-profit, charitable organization, can be found at

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