Animal Services

Seasonal Pet Care Tips

Winter Tips to Keep Your Pets Safe

There are many factors including age, breed, size, and health of the animal, as well as the temperature, wind chill factor, and weather conditions that help to determine if it is safe for your pet to remain outside during the cold winter months.  It takes planning and preparation to provide proper care for all outside pets to ensure their comfort and safety.  Below are some tips to help keep your pets safe during winter months.

Proper Shelter

  • Provide a well-insulated, waterproof house with an elevated floor. Put straw or cedar chips inside the house and on the ground surrounding the house. Avoid using blankets, which will become wet and freeze.
  • The house should be big enough for your pet to sit up and lie down in comfortably, yet small enough to hold in body heat.
  • Turn the house toward the south. For added protection, add a door flap to protect the dog from cold winds and rain.
  • Plastic pet carriers, wire crates, and sheds are NOT considered adequate shelter.
  • Heated mats or heat lamps may also be used to provide adequate warmth and comfort.

Food and Water

  • Outside dogs burn more calories during the winter to produce body heat. Increasing daily food rations may be necessary to ensure the dog’s ability to maintain his body temperature and a healthy body weight.
  • Pets must have clean, potable water at all times, and it may be necessary to replace the water several times each day due to freezing. Heated water bowls will be needed if you are unable to change the water when it becomes frozen.

The following pets are considered at high risk for frostbite and hypothermia and should not be left outside for long periods of time when temperatures drop below 40 degrees:

  • Cats and kittens
  • Puppies
  • Sick or injured pets
  • Shorthaired dogs, such as Rottweilers, Pointers, and Boxer
  • Elderly pets
  • Underweight pets
  • Small dogs

All pets should be brought inside if temperatures drop below 20 degrees with wind chill factors taken into consideration.


Summer Pet Care Tips

Providing quality, humane care for outside pets during hot summer months doesn’t have to be a challenge. With a little planning using the tips below, you can ensure your pet’s safety and enjoy the summer together.

Proper Shelter

  • Provide a waterproof house at all times that is constructed of appropriate materials (not metal).
  • Keep areas surrounding the house dry with straw or cedar chips.
  • Make sure the house is in an area of the yard that will remain shaded throughout the day. A doghouse without shade will only act as an oven.
  • The house should be big enough for the pet to stand at his full height, sit and lie down in comfortably.



  • Provide fresh, cold water at all times.  Dogs, cats and other pets may not drink warm or hot water, so it may need to be replaced several times throughout the day. 
  • Provide water in a container that is large enough to ensure the animal will have plenty of water throughout the day. 
  • Secure the water container so that it cannot be tipped over.  In an attempt to cool themselves, dogs often dump their water bowls, leaving them with no water at all.
  • Provide a swimming pool filled with water for the dog to get into and cool off.


How Hot is Too Hot?

  • Pets can suffer from heat stroke and sunburn just as people do.  Shorthaired dogs such as Rottweilers, Dobermans, Pointers, and Boxers have very little protection from the sun and can easily become sunburned from even just a little exposure to the sun. 
  • Short nosed breeds such as Boxers, Bulldogs and Pugs can overheat very quickly, resulting in heat stroke. 
  • Temperatures that may be considered safe could actually be deadly when pets aren’t provided with proper care.  Age, health, weight, breed and care are all factors that affect how safe or unsafe it is to leave your pet out in hot temperatures.  When in doubt, take your pets inside.
  • Road trips with your pet can be fun, but unless your trip is dedicated solely to your pet (vet visit, trip to the dog park, etc.), NEVER leave him in the car.  At 80 degrees, temperatures in parked cars can quickly climb to 160 degrees or higher within minutes, even with the windows slightly opened.
  • Concrete and asphalt absorb heat, making it uncomfortable for your pet to walk on during hot summer months.  Walk your pet at the cooler times of the day or walk in grassy areas to protect their paws. 



For questions concerning pet care or to report an animal that may not be receiving adequate care, contact Independence Animal Services at 816-325-7205.


Independence Animal Services

21001 E 78 Highway, Independence, MO 64057
Phone(816) 325-7207


Tuesday - Saturday  By Appointment, Walk-Ins Welcome if Time Permits, 10 am - 6 pm 

Sunday - Monday By Appointment Only 


(for stray animal drop-off) 

By Appointment Only


(to reclaim your lost pet)

Tuesday - Saturday 10am - 6pm By Appointment Only

Sunday - Monday By Appointment Only



Call (816) 325-7205