ARL and MEMA urge Massachusetts residents and their pets to stay indoors

Dangerously low temperatures are forecasted for this weekend!

The Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) is urging residents to take precautions during this period of extreme cold weather and stay indoors. Prolonged exposure to the cold can lead to serious health issues including frostbite and hypothermia.

MEMA urges residents to minimize outside activities and to follow the same precautions for their furry companions. If it’s too cold for you, it’s probably too cold for your pets.

Though they may have furry coats, animals are by no means immune to dangerously cold temperatures. Even rabbits, cats, and dogs that typically live outdoors need extra assistance keeping warm as temperatures drop to alarming lows.

The ARL offers 6 steps to keep animals safe during this cold weather warning:

  1. If possible, bring pets or feral cats that you’re familiar with indoors to a garage or basement.  If it’s not possible, click here to watch the ARL’s video on making a DIY cat shelter.
    cold weather warning

    Keep community cats safe this winter by building your own DIY cat shelter in your yard. Click the photo for a basic how-to video.

  2. Bundle up your pup in a jacket or sweater during their walk, especially if their coat is made of hair (vs. fur). Take our quiz to determine if your pet needs a sweater.
  3. Before you start your engine, look under and pound on your vehicle’s hood to wake a napping cat trying to keep warm.
  4. Never leave your pet alone inside your vehicle, which won’t stay warm for long after your engine has turned off.
  5. Keep a winter pet emergency kit handy. Learn how to make your own simple and inexpensive DIY winter pet emergency kit.
  6. If your pet MUST remain outdoors, make sure that are in a winter-friendly shelter that has the following components: three-sided enclosure, stands off the ground, contains generous amounts of bedding, and plenty of (un-frozen!) drinking water. If possible, also make sure that the entrance faces away from heavy winds.

IF YOU SEE SOMETHING, SAY SOMETHING. If you’re concerned about a neighborhood animal outdoors in the cold this week, be sure to contact your local animal control office or authorities.

For more information about winter pet healthy and safety, visit