With frigid winter weather upon us, the Ontario SPCA and Humane Society is reminding pet parents to take extra precautions to keep animals safe.
- Supervise outdoor time – Some dogs want to be outside, regardless of the weather. But even as little as 30 minutes can be too long for your furry companion in extremely cold temperatures. Even if your dog has a thick coat, keep an eye on them when they are outside playing to watch for early signs that they’re cold, such as holding up paws or shivering.
- Modify outdoor activities – Limit the length of time spent outside and choose walking routes that loop past your house, in case you or your pooch need to come in to get warm.
- Leave pets at home – Leave your animal at home where they are warm and safe when you’re running errands. Vehicles cool down quickly and don’t hold in body heat, which can lead to animals suffering from cold stress, hypothermia or frostbite.
- Watch for cats seeking warmth under vehicle hoods – Knock on the hood of your car or sound the horn before starting the engine. Cats hiding under hoods can be injured or killed by the fan belt.
- Keep paws clean – Use a damp towel to wipe your pet’s paws and underside if they’ve walked along salted sidewalks or roads. Salt and other chemicals used to melt snow and ice on roads and sidewalks can irritate and burn your pet’s sensitive paws and can cause illness if ingested.
- Clean up car spills – Keep an eye out for antifreeze, or other automotive leaks in your driveway. Antifreeze has a sweet taste that can be attractive to animals and can be fatal if ingested.
- Know who to call – If you have a concern about the welfare of an animal, contact the Government of Ontario’s Provincial Animal Welfare Services team at 1-833-9ANIMAL (1-833-926-4625) or your local police services. If you see an animal in distress and are concerned the animal’s life is in danger, call 911 immediately as this is an emergency.
Acknowledge your animal’s unique needs – cats, puppies and short-coated dogs are particularly vulnerable in cold temperatures. Some dogs, especially short-coated breeds, puppies and elderly dogs may benefit from a dog sweater or coat as an extra layer of warmth.
“Canadian winters can be harsh and it’s up to us to protect our furry friends from the elements,” says Jane McCamus, Manager, Ontario SPCA Muskoka Animal Centre. “By taking simple steps, you can ensure your furry family member is safe and comfortable during the cold winter weather.”
For more winter pet safety tips, visit ontariospca.ca