Denver Animal Protection Reminds Residents to Protect Pets When Temperatures Drop

DENVER – As the Denver-metro area braces for its first blast of winter weather this season, Denver Animal Protection reminds residents to ensure pets are protected from the elements. Failing to do so could have dangerous consequence for pets and lead to a Cruelty to Animals or Animal Neglect charge, up to a $999 fine and/or a year in jail for the owner.

The best way to protect pets from extreme temperatures is to avoid long-term outdoor exposure. But, if pets must be outside for longer durations, Denver city ordinance requires pets have adequate outdoor shelter such as a dog house, porch area, or a similar structure that allows the animal to escape the elements. Further insulating the shelter or adding a “doggie door” to a garage or covered-area adds another layer of protection from the cold.

Additional tips include:
• When pets come in from the outdoors, remove snow, ice, salt and other ice-treatment chemicals from their coats and paws. This will keep them dry, but also prevent them from ingesting the chemicals.
• Check for cracks in paw pads or redness between toes. Massaging petroleum jelly into paw pads before going outside can protect from salt and chemical agents. Booties provide protection from irritation. Use pet-friendly ice melts whenever possible.
• Temperatures can change quickly in winter, especially as the sun sets. It’s important to remember not to leave your pet in a vehicle for prolonged periods of time.
• Don’t leave dangerous and potentially lethal chemicals like snow and ice remover or anti-freeze within your pet’s reach.
• Check under the hood of outdoor vehicles before starting them up. Stray cats often look for refuge in warm engines.
• Don’t shave your dog down to the skin in the winter as a longer winter coat will provide more warmth. If your dog is short-haired, consider getting a coat or sweater.
• Pets burn extra energy by trying to stay warm in the wintertime. Feeding your pet a bit more during the cold weather months can provide much-needed calories. Ensure they also have plenty of water to keep them hydrated and to prevent dry skin.

For information about Denver’s Animal Protection ordinances or additional pet safety tips, visit

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