Nonprofit animal shelter Austin Pets Alive is asking the community to help foster dogs and cats until Feb. 3, as the shelter is one of the thousands of Austin Energy customers without power due to winter weather conditions.

The shelter, located on West Cesar Chavez Street, does have water and generators running in critical areas. However, some kennels are exposed to the elements, and freezing temperatures severely strain the shelter's facility, according to APA.

Residents interested in temporarily fostering a dog or cat can do so by filling out a sign up sheet.

Amid the winter storm conditions, APA suggested several tips to keep pets safe:
  • Bring pets inside. No pet should be left outside for long periods of time when temperatures are below freezing.
  • Check the car for cats. In cold weather, cats often hide in car engines and/or wheel wells, so thump the hood of a car a few times and check the wheels for stowaways before starting the engine and taking off.
  • Provide a makeshift enclosure for outdoor animals. Outdoor animals suffering in the cold can be kept warm in a closed box or bin with a cut out in the side, with straw inside.
  • Put a sweater on a pup. Make sure the sweater and coat is completely dry for each outing, though, as damp or wet outerwear could make them chillier.
  • Check paws. Check for any signs of cracking on the paw pads, redness between toes, or bleeding. Wipe them down after each outing to remove any salt, ice or chemicals.