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Austin Pets Alive! | Christmas Week Chilly Emergency in Austin

Dec 19, 2022

Dangerous winter weather with temperature lows in the teens is predicted to hit Central Texas this week. With some of our animal enclosures exposed to the elements, temperatures this low severely strain our facility so we must get our Town Lake Animal Center shelter pets in warm homes by THIS THURSDAY. We’re calling on our community members for help needed NOW:

  1. Foster homes for cold shelter animals
    We need our animals, especially our dogs, out now, before the coldest weather hits Thursday. With Christmas week/holiday travel, we anticipate it will be very difficult to find fosters so if you are staying in the Austin area your help is urgently needed. Email [email protected] or come to our Town Lake Animal Center location (1156 W Cesar Chavez St.) between noon-6pm to foster. We do ask that you keep them in your home until at least Monday, December 26th.

  2. Supplies or monetary donations
    With facility and extra resource needs to handle this emergency, we are seeking monetary donations now. Click here to make a gift to help fund our response and operations. We also need people to donate any of the following supplies to be two-day shipped or bring them this week to our Town Lake location. (Drop off in front of building C.) Some of these will be sent to the neighboring shelters we support as well.
    • Blankets (ideally small, fleece – NO sleeping bags)

    • Medium & large dog coats

    • Moving blankets

    • Tarps

    • Waterproof/self-warming dog blankets

    • Self-warming heating pads

    • Space heaters

    • Heat lamps

  3. Other help for shelters we support
    Many neighboring cities’ animals are also at risk during weather emergencies like this, and are often far less resourced than Austin. We are also asking for help getting the following urgent needs met for these shelters this week (list will update as we receive requests for help):
    • The City of Devine Animal Shelter needs an adopter or foster for the animals here, especially puppies.

  4. Education and help for community pets
    Read and share this checklist to protect pets where you are.

  • Bring pets inside. The best thing you can do for your pet is to bring them inside with you. While some breeds of dogs are more tolerant of cold weather than others, no pet should be left outside for long periods of time when it is below freezing (32ºF). You know your pet best, so be vigilant about watching for signs of their cold tolerance and limit outdoor activities accordingly.

  • Check your car for cats. Our feline friends like to hide from this weather in car engines and/or wheel wells, so thump the hood of your car a few times and check your wheels for stowaways before you start the engine and take off.

  • Provide a makeshift enclosure for outdoor animals. If you’ve noticed outdoor cats or other animals in your community suffering from the cold (shaking, curled up, etc.) and you are worried about them, create a makeshift shelter for them to stay warm in. A closed box or Rubbermaid bin with a cut out in the side, with towels or blankets, will help keep them safe in the frigid temperatures. Click here for example directions for cat shelters from Alley Cat Advocates and click here for more on what to do for dogs in the cold from Best Friends.

  • Or consider opening your garage slightly (and leaving a heating pad or heat lamp on) to let cats in from the cold.

  • Put a sweater on your pup. If you have a dog with a short coat, you can keep them a bit more insulated by putting a sweater or dog coat on them. Be sure the sweater and coat are completely dry for each outing, though, as damp or wet outerwear could actually make them chillier.

  • Check paws. After outdoor activity, check your pet’s paws for any signs of cracking on the paw pads, redness between toes, or bleeding. Wipe them down after each outing, too, to remove any salt, ice, or chemicals.

For city information about cold weather shelters and warming centers, visit

Need help with a community pet? Visit the P.A.S.S. Facebook group. P.A.S.S. connects you to community member support for emergency pet food, pet resource assistance, and other emergency pet help.

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