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PA Department of Agriculture Reminds Livestock, Pet Owners to Keep Animals Safe in Severe Cold


Harrisburg, PA - Pennsylvania’s pets and livestock could face severe cold stress this week with temperatures expected to drop below zero and wind chills making it feel like it is minus 35 degrees outside. Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding today urged all animal owners to protect animals from exposures that could cause cold-related stress.

“Cold weather doesn’t only impact people, it also can cause distress for companion animals and livestock,” Redding said. “Whether the animals you care for are homed in the house or in the barn, we remind you to take the necessary steps to ensure their safety during the intense cold.”

Animals kept in temperatures below freezing are susceptible to hypothermia, which can result in frostbite in their extremities and life-threatening respiratory conditions and decreased heart rates. Symptoms of hypothermia include shivering, lethargy, low heart rate and unresponsiveness.

Redding offered additional tips for helping pets and livestock deal with the cold:

  • Protect animals from the wind.

  • Provide adequate clean, dry bedding.

  • Keep animals clean and dry to maximize the insulating properties of their coats.

  • Change water often to prevent it from freezing. Pets need water to prevent dehydration, which can contribute to hypothermia.

  • Provide additional feed, including hay and grain, to livestock. Ensure it remains unfrozen.

  • Never leave pets in parked cars.

Redding added that under Libre's Law, dogs cannot be tethered outside for more than 30 minutes in temperatures below 32 degrees Fahrenheit.

If your animals exhibit signs of hypothermia, contact a local veterinarian. If you suspect animal abuse and would like to report it, you should contact your local humane society police officer or local police station. In the absence of local police, contact the Pennsylvania State Police.

For more agriculture safety tips, visit Penn State Extension’s disaster preparedness site at

MEDIA CONTACT: Shannon Powers - 717.783.2628

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