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Extreme Cold Weather Precautions for Animals

Elkhart County is expecting some record-setting negative temperatures and wind-chills. The Humane Society of Elkhart County is asking the community to be proactive and bring in their pets from this cold.

These temperatures are too cold for cats, dogs and other outside pets to be outside. Even with fur they become cold quickly. For your canine companions, potty breaks need to be quick. Use sweaters and jackets for short haired dogs and make the time outside brief. Frostbite can occur in less than 10 minutes with these extremely frigid temperatures. Five Minute outside breaks are suggested as the temperatures and wind-chills fall. Paws and ears are very susceptible to frostbite. Wiping any sidewalk salt off of paws to prevent animals from digesting it is recommended.

Outdoor working dogs need adequate shelter and bedding from these temperatures. Make sure they have a clean dry shelter with some type of heat. Heated water bowls are idea along with additional food.

For livestock and horses, please make sure they have adequate shelter and bedding along with access to water that is not frozen and extra feed/hay. A dry shelter out of the wind and blankets for horses are ideal.

For poultry and ducks, provide dry shelter with lots of fresh clean straw, a heated watering source and extra feed. Safely hanging heat lamps to keep the birds from freezing is also recommended.

Here are some tips from our Humane Officers, if you witness an animal outside during these extreme temperatures. Please record how long the animal has been outdoors, are you seeing it outside as you are driving by or has it been outside for an extended length of time? What type of animal, breed and size is it? Are you able to tell, without trespassing if the animal has access to water, feed or shelter? Lastly, how is the animal acting? Does it appear cold or struggling in the elements?

HSEC is already experiencing a high volume of calls and they will just increase as the temperatures drop. Our officers are responsible for the entire county and follow up on calls as soon as possible.

If you do see an animal that is showing signs of distress, please contact our Office at 574-848-4225. After business hours, please contact your local law enforcement agency. 

Be safe and keep your animals safe during this extreme cold.