During the cold weather remember if it is too cold for you to be outside it is too cold for your pet to be outside.
Keep them sheltered because when the thermometer plummets it creates dangerous and potentially life-threatening conditions for animals left outside.
Here are some suggestions to keeping your pets comfortable during the cold snap:
- Cats, short-coated dogs and puppies are particularly vulnerable in cold temperatures so consider slipping your short-coated dog or puppy into a comfortable dog sweater or coat as an extra layer of warmth, and slipping on a pair of well fitting dog booties.
- Outdoor dogs MUST be provided with adequate shelter and a constant supply of high calorie, good quality food, and clean potable water. A good supply of straw bedding should be placed in the dog house to help the dog retain some body warmth. Straw is ideal bedding because it retains body heat, while wicking away moisture and water that builds up from melting snow. Blankets become wet and turn into a hard bloc of ice, which is not very comfortable for a dog to lie on.
The pamphlet, “Ideal Doghouse for Ontario’s Outdoor Dogs” is available on the Ontario SPCA website at www.ontariospca.ca/docs/Ideal_Doghouse.pdf
- Cats should not be allowed outside at all when the temperature drops below 15◦C – they will seek heat and shelter and hide and not want to come back in when you call them. A cat’s ears, tail and paws can become frostbitten within 15 minutes of exposure.
- Cats and kittens often crawl up into vehicles to seek warmth, and this poses a serious risk of injury when the vehicle is started. Make a habit of banging on the hood of your vehicle and honking the horn once or twice before starting it if you have a lot of cats roaming around your neighborhood.
- Livestock such as cattle and horses also need to be provided with an ample supply of good quality, high calorie feed during these cold periods. They should also have access to a wind break, either a man-made shelter, or a natural forest or stand of trees.
- Livestock owners should check on their stock daily, to make sure that all are doing well, and that older, thinner animals are still thriving in this weather.