Like many other dogs who spend their whole lives chained or confined to a pen outside, Skye isn’t allowed inside the house with her family.

Cold dog Skye

When temperatures started dropping this winter, PETA fieldworkers stopped by to put fresh straw inside Skye’s doghouse. This is what they found in her water bucket:

cold dog frozen water

Temperatures were below freezing, and no one had noticed that Skye’s water had frozen, making it impossible for her to drink. Skye is just one of thousands of “backyard dogs” across the country whose bones ache from the cold and who are struggling to survive the winter. Animals who are left outside during the freezing cold can die of hypothermia and dehydration when water sources freeze.

Cold chained dog in the snow during straw delivery in January 2013.

All winter long, PETA’s fieldworkers encounter animals who are suffering terribly from the cold. Many dogs are chained outside 24 hours a day, sometimes with nothing more than a plastic carrier or an overturned barrel for shelter (if they have any shelter at all).

Cold chained dog in the snow during straw delivery in January 2013.

Puppies and kittens, elderly and small animals, and dogs with short hair—including pointers, beagles, pit bulls, Rottweilers, and Dobermans—are particularly affected by the cold weather.

Cold dog photo dog in mud

Cats and dogs often lose the tips of their ears to frostbite. In addition to being extremely painful and leading to the loss of parts of ears, tails, noses, toes, and feet, frostbite can also be fatal if injured body parts later become infected. This winter there have already been several reports of animals being found frozen to the ground when temperatures drop.

Cold dog photo icicle on dog's face

What You Can Do 

1. Keep your dogs and cats indoors. If you can’t stand the cold, they can’t, either!

cold dog photo snow on dog's nose

2. During winter, cats sometimes climb under the hoods of cars to be near warm engines and are badly injured or killed when the car is started. Be sure to tap on the hood of your car before starting it to alert any kitty who may have climbed inside.

3. Take roaming animals indoors until you can find their guardians or take them to an animal shelter. If strays won’t let you come near them, provide them with food and water and call your local humane society for assistance in trapping them and getting them indoors.

Let me come inside feature image

4. During the winter, wipe off your dogs’ and cats’ legs, feet, and belly when they come inside. Salt and other chemicals can make your animals sick if they lick them off their fur and ingest them.

5. Keep an eye out for “backyard dogs” in your area. Make sure they have fresh water and plenty of food. Politely urge owners to let their animals indoors, and call the police immediately if you see a dog who’s being denied enough food, water, or protective shelter. If the police are unresponsive, contact PETA.

Cold chained dog in the snow during straw delivery in January 2013.

6. Share this blog post with your friends and family to spread the word about the dangers to animals in cold weather.

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