OSPCA Urges Pet Parents To Use Caution Around Waterways


Bracebridge, ON (Jan. 16, 2024) – With unseasonably mild temperatures this winter, the Ontario SPCA and Humane Society is urging pet parents to use caution around bodies of water, which may not be safely frozen.

Every year, incidents occur involving dogs and open water or thin ice, resulting in injuries or even tragic outcomes. To help keep pets safe, the Ontario SPCA offers these tips:

  1. Use a leash – Always keep your dog on a leash near bodies of open water or thin ice. Even if your dog is a strong swimmer, icy conditions and frigid water can prove deadly. Dogs living on properties with lakes, rivers or ponds should be supervised while outdoors to ensure they don’t wander onto the ice.
  2. Check ice conditions – Before venturing onto any frozen surface, check the thickness of the ice. Avoid slushy, thawed, recently refrozen ice, or ice near moving water, as they may be unsafe. Avoid going on ice after dark when it’s more difficult to spot weak ice or open water.
  3. Know the area – Be aware of potential hazards. Avoid areas with fast-flowing water, as currents can weaken ice. Slippery banks leading to the water can also be hazardous.
  4. Carry emergency gear – Be cautious and avoid putting yourself at risk if trying to rescue a pet. Equip yourself with safety gear, such as a rope and safety ice picks, to assist in the event of an emergency. Carry a cell phone for quick access to emergency services.
  5. Avoid the ice – Avoid areas where your dog may venture onto the ice. Find areas for your dog to play or exercise that are away from open water or thin ice so they aren’t tempted to venture out.

By following these guidelines, pet parents can help reduce the risk of accidents and ensure a safe and enjoyable winter experience. The Ontario SPCA remains committed to promoting responsible pet guardianship and providing resources to help keep pets safe and healthy.

For more winter pet safety tips, visit ontariospca.ca


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