Animal Protection Officers will be triaging calls and responding to emergencies. Their response capabilities will be affected by road conditions and call volume, but if you are concerned about a pet please call 311 to make a report.
These tips can help make sure your pet is safe during a winter storm:
- Bring them inside. Even though they have fur, pets are still at risk of hypothermia in freezing weather. Longer furred breeds like huskies and Great Pyrenees may have a higher tolerance for cold weather but no pet should be left outside for long periods during freezing temperatures.
- Keep walks short. Shorter-haired dogs are going to get cold faster, and elderly dogs may have problems walking on the ice. Check their paws to make sure balls of ice haven’t formed between their toes.
- Provide shelter. If you’re unable to bring your pet inside, make sure they have adequate shelter. The shelter should be up off the ground if possible and the door should face away from the wind. Provide thick, dry bedding and replace it regularly if it gets wet. Do not use space heaters or heat lamps due to fire risk, and don’t use heating pads as they can burn your pet’s skin. Remember that the Safe Outdoor Dogs Act passed recently which requires outdoor dogs to have access to fresh drinking water (so make sure it’s not frozen by changing it out regularly) as well as shelter that they can stand up in and turn around comfortably.
- Recognize a pet in distress. Signs of hypothermia in pets include shivering, lethargy, weakness, and shallow breathing. Frostbite can also be a risk for ears and tails; signs of frostbite include red, swollen areas or pale, white areas. Consult your veterinarian if you are concerned your pet may be hypothermic or have frostbite.
- Thump your car hood before starting the engine. Sometimes cats take cover in engine compartments and can get seriously injured and/or transported away from their home. By hitting the hood of your car, it gives them a chance to get out safely.
About the Animal Services Office
The Animal Services Office operates the Austin Animal Center, and is home to the largest No Kill community in the United States. We provide shelter to more than 17,000 animals annually. Our goal is to provide a safe place for lost and homeless animals and to educate our community in order to prevent animal homelessness and promote compassionate treatment of animals and responsible pet ownership.