As cold weather hits, know when to bring pets inside

Pets should be brought inside when the outdoor temperature or wind chill drops to 30 degrees

This Siberian Husky is playing in the snow in Banks, December 22, 2016 (jbjorden)
This Siberian Husky is playing in the snow in Banks, December 22, 2016 (jbjorden)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — With a cold snap expected to bring frigid temperatures to the Portland area, it’s important for people with outdoor pets to know when they should bring those animals inside.

The Oregon Humane Society said pets should be brought inside when the outdoor temperature or wind chill drops to 30 degrees. There’s no separate temperature for outdoor dogs and cats. At 30 degrees, it’s recommended that both be brought indoors.

If an outdoor dog or cat has never been brought inside before, there will be some adjustments. A laundry room or mudroom will make a warm temporary home for a pet until the cold weather passes.

Know when cold weather is about to strike by downloading the PDX Weather App

It’s important to know that the dog or cat may get scared by various noises in the house that it’s not used to hearing, said David Lytle with the Oregon Humane Society. The animal may also be scared of stairs and have trouble walking on floors. To help with this, pet owners should bring in something familiar from their animal’s outdoor shelter or pen like bedding, a toy or a food dish. Lytle said the familiar smell will help them adjust to being indoors.

If bringing the animal inside simply isn’t an option, putting them in the garage is the next best thing. Make sure the animal has a shelter that is off the cold concrete floor. A large dog crate kept off the floor with wood planks and filled with straw will give a dog a great place to sleep while in the garage.

If the garage is unheated, keep in mind a water dish may freeze. In this case, it’s best to fill the dish with warm water at night so it lasts longer, Lytle suggested. Also use a plastic bowl because tongues get stuck to cold metal, as shown in an infamous scene from the film “A Christmas Story.”

“For cats, get a 4-sided box [filled] with bedding/straw, and put in on a chair. Cut a hole in the side of the box so kitty can go in an out,” Lytle said.

Whether kept inside a house or garage, make sure the animal gets taken outside for potty breaks. They should also be exercised at least twice a day.

For more information on handling outdoor pets in cold weather, click here.