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PET HEALTH-Cold Weather Safety for Pets

Helpful tips for keeping our four-legged friends safe this winter,

By Tammy Gaboury
PET HEALTH-Cold Weather Safety for Pets

With cold temperatures here it’s important to remember pet safety for our animals during extreme cold weather.
Every year our Investigations department responds to complaints from concerned citizens of animals left out in the elements unprotected. Canada’s laws require that animals receive adequate shelter and care. Willful failure to provide adequate shelter could lead to prosecution, where owners could face a fine or for more serious offences, a jail sentence or prohibition from having custody of animals.
Here are some helpful tips for keeping our four-legged friends safe this winter.
    Keep pets warm: When the temperatures drop below freezing, pets should not be left outside for extended periods. Cats and short-coated dogs are particularly vulnerable in cold temperatures. Frostbite and hypothermia are the most common issues that we see with animals left outside for long periods of time. Consider using a dog coat when taking your pets outside for short periods of time.
    Avoid car hazards: Never leave your cat or dog alone in a car during cold weather. Cars hold in the cold, acting like a refrigerator. Also, be aware of cats seeking warmth under vehicle hoods. Make a point of knocking on the hood or sounding the horn before starting the engine. Another danger to remember is your storage of anti-freeze. It is very sweet tasting and even a very small amount ingested can be fatal.
    Protect outdoor dogs: Outdoor dogs must be provided with adequate shelter and a constant fresh supply of water. While we strongly recommend brining your dog indoors, dogs that do live outside require as a minimum a dry, draft-free doghouse soundly-built of weatherproof materials with the door facing away from prevailing winds. It should be elevated and insulated and have a door flap at the entrance. An abundance of straw or wood shavings acts as great bedding as well as insulation. Check your dog’s water frequently and invest in a heated or insulated bowl to prevent freezing.
    Take pet precautions: Always use a damp towel to wipe your pet’s paws and underside after being outside. Salt and other chemicals used to melt snow and ice can irritate and burn your pet’s sensitive paws, and cause illness if ingested. In heavy snowstorms, avoid allowing your dog to run off leash as they can easily lose their scent and become lost. HWS

The Welland and District Regional Spay Neuter Clinic is located at 700 East Main Street in Welland. For more information. please call 289.820.9651 or visit


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