Winter is Coming: How to keep outdoor pets warm this winter


No one likes to be in the cold winter air no matter what the circumstances, including outdoor pets. Humane Society of the High Plains Manager, Betty Hansen, said homeowners should take extra precautions now ahead of time to prepare for bitterly cold conditions with pets. The main thing pet owners should have prepared is a warm shelter.

“They must have covered shelter using blankets or hay. The shelter should be kept on a foundation with solid flooring. Water should be changed often and checked to make sure it has not frozen. The best thing to do is to bring your animals inside during dangerously low temperatures if possible,” Hansen said.

For the Humane Society, located at 2050 E. Old Hwy 40 in Hays, preparations aren’t just a seasonal thing; they prepare months in advance and have a plan of action for each season, especially the winter season.

“We have a great facility that we keep cool in the summer and warm in the winter. The dogs and cats also have their own beds and blankets to keep them comfortable,” she said.

At the animal shelter during the winter, Hansen says that they keep all housing for animals indoors, especially in the winter months. 

“We do not house any animals outside during the winter or summer. Each animal has their own indoor kennel space that they are kept in,” Hansen said.

As well as keeping housing indoors, they adapt to the winter weather by allowing specific time periods during the days that dogs are allowed outside.

 “Each dog gets to spend time outdoors periodically throughout the day to exercise and burn off some energy. While the cats get indoor playtime outside of their kennels,” she said.

To ensure the safety of pets during winter, it is important to always make sure to not leave animals out for extended periods of time, especially in freezing temperatures, because just as humans, animals can get hypothermia too. It is also important to make sure that when you leave your driveway in the mornings to check for cats who may be warming up in the undercarriage or hood of your car as well. 

“Hypothermia, frostbite and vehicles. Cats will attempt to climb into the undercarriage or under the hood of a car that is warming up or has recently been driven to find warmth during frigid weather,” Hansen said. 

For more tips and information on how to keep your animals safe this winter or looking into adopting an animal, visit

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