The Weather Outside is Frightful (and Dangerous for Pets)

Encinitas, CA – With overnight temperatures dipping into the 30’s and 40’s across San Diego County, your Rancho Coastal Humane Society (RCHS) is reminding families to keep their pets safe.

“It’s not just the temperature that we need to be concerned about,” says RCHS spokesman John Van Zante. “San Diego pets aren’t experienced living in cold weather. It’s our responsibility to keep them safe. The best thing we can do is bring them indoors. But even indoor pets are at risk when they go outside.”

Hypothermia – Short-haired dogs and cats, especially those with low body fat, get cold quickly. Same with pets who are older and pets who have been sick. Keep them in or provide warm shelter outside. Consider dressing your pet in a sweater or jacket.

Frostbite – Exposure to low temperatures can lead to frostbite of the feet, nose, or ears. Ice can form between the toes.

Undernourishment / Dehydration – For pets who spend lots of time outdoors, increase their food, particularly protein, during cold weather.
Outdoor pets can become dehydrated if their water freezes solid. Keep it warm.

Wind Chill – The doorway to a dog’s outdoor shelter should face away from the wind and/or be covered. It should be well-insulated and large enough for your dog to stand up, turn around, and lie down comfortably.

Cats and engines – Outdoor cats often crawl under the hoods of cars to take advantage of the warmth of the engine. Knock on the hood or honk the horn to warn cats away before you start the engine.

Antifreeze – Antifreeze tastes sweet, and it can kill dogs and cats. Keep antifreeze containers sealed and out of reach. Clean up spills immediately.

Tongue Injuries – When it’s freezing, pets’ tongues can get stuck to metal bowls. Use plastic or ceramic bowls outdoors. Monitor to make sure the water hasn’t frozen.

Fire Danger – Don’t leave pets alone with portable space heaters or fireplaces.  


For more information about Rancho Coastal Humane Society at 389 Requeza Street in Encinitas call 760-753-6413 or log on to

Every animal deserves a tomorrow ®.