Keeping our Pets Safe during Extreme Cold

If your pet spends time outdoors during cold winter days, consider these guidelines and several signs to watch for to ensure your pet is comfortable and safe.

Temperature Guidelines

  • Certain breeds of ‘sled dogs’ can remain outside for hours, not all dogs fare as well in cold and snow
  • Cold temperatures should not become a problem for most dogs until it falls below -7°C at which point cold adverse dogs might begin to be uncomfortable
  • If you have a small breed dog, dogs with thin coats, or very young, old or sick dogs special attention should be provided if the temperature is below 0°C.
  • The dangerous weather threshold for outdoor play is -10°C to -15°C no matter the type of breed of dog you have
  •  Once temperatures get below -6°C, health problems like hypothermia and frostbite are possible
  • Cats should not be left outside

Tips for a Safe and Comfortable Winter

  • Provide a shelter for your dog if it is outdoors for part of the day for any reason.  Ensure the shelter is dry, draft free, and large enough for them to move comfortably but small enough to hold in body heat.  Have the floor elevated and covered with cedar shavings or straw. The doorway should be covered with waterproof burlap or heavy plastic.
  • Ensure your dog has access to unfrozen water and fresh food.
  • Be with your pet outdoors and watch for signs if your animal is getting uncomfortable.  Observe if your dog is shivering, acting anxious, whining, slowing down, searching out warm locations, or holding up one or more paws.  At this point, it is time to head indoors.
  • Extreme signs of discomfort and coldness include frostbite on the tips of the ears or discolored paws.
  • Consider protecting your pet against the cold temperature by bundling them up in dog jackets or booties.
  • Do not leave a pet in a cold vehicle

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