Now that we’ve had a winter storm to remind us how awful the weather can be, I thought it would be a good time to remind everyone that cats and dogs are domesticated animals that need to be kept inside.

Domesticated dogs and cats are not equipped to survive in freezing temperatures like wild animals can. Dogs and cats must be kept indoors when the temperatures are freezing. Some people keep their dogs outside and have a dog house for them. Unfortunately, most dog houses don’t protect the animals the way they are supposed to.

Doghouses sit on the ground, which makes them cold to begin with. Wooden houses have no insulation and igloos are plastic, which is just as cold. Unless a doghouse is custom made with insulation and heat, and built off the ground, it isn’t going to keep a dog warm. Companies sell fancy doghouses that look pretty, but will not keep animals warm in freezing weather.

When it is freezing outside, the best thing to do is to bring your cats and dogs inside. Any warm and dry place will suffice for your pet to stay. Wire or plastic crates are great to keep pets in inside, but be sure it is big enough for your pet to lie down and comfortably turn around. You can partition off part of a room for your pet. Kitchens and bathrooms have floors that are easier to clean so those are good rooms to keep an unsupervised pet. A warm and dry basement is a great place to keep your pet when it is freezing.

Missouri state laws require dogs to have adequate shelter that protects them from “extremes of weather conditions.” If you see an animal that doesn’t have proper shelter and is left outside in the cold, please call the police or animal control. If you don’t get help from them call the Animal Cruelty Hotline at 314-647-4400. There is no reason for an animal to freeze to death when their families are staying warm inside their homes.

Animals Best Friends wish list includes: 4 Health dog and cat food (grain free and found at Tractor Supply), cow hooves or rawhides, canned dog and cat food, peanut butter, stuffed toys (no beads), HE laundry detergent, bleach, bleach spray cleaner, Fantastic spray cleaner, newspapers (without slick ads), paper towels, scoopable cat litter. ABF Headquarters is located at 2302 S. Crysler Ave., Independence. We appreciate your support.