Prepare your pet for winter with safety tips from Mississauga Animal Services

cold weather pet safety tips

Winter weather is on its way and temperatures are dropping in the coming weeks. Preparing for the cold days ahead means thinking twice about the safety of our roads, homes, cars, families and pets.

If you’re a first-time pet owner, it’s essential to understand that winter can be harsh on some pets. Mississauga Animal Services wants to remind residents that if it is too cold for you, it’s also too cold for your pets. Take a moment to review your responsibility as a pet owner in Mississauga and help keep everyone safe.

Follow these pet safety tips to keep our furry friends safe this winter:

Winter walks

Walking and bathroom breaks are essential for dogs, but keep the walk brief on extremely cold days or during winter storms. As always, keep dogs leashed – even if your dog feels like playing in the snow. With reduced visibility and heavy snowfall, dogs can quickly lose your scent and become lost. As a reminder, dogs must be on a leash in public, except inside leash-free dog parks in the city. If you do not put your dog on a leash, you can be fined up to $115.

Coat check

Clothing for dogs aren’t just fashion statements. In fact, many dog owners buy sweaters, coats and jackets to help keep their dogs warm. How you dress them in the winter depends on how much fur they have. Dogs like Chihuahuas, Italian Grey Hounds and other breeds have very short fur. Breeds such as Malamutes, Huskies and St. Bernard’s have thick double coats that already protect them from frigid temperatures.

Don’t be salty

Put boots on your dogs and clean their paws after their walks. Repeatedly stepping on salt crystals can be uncomfortable and it can crack or cut into your dog’s paws, causing them to burn the paw pads. Also, be cautious of areas that aren’t salted – you or your pet could slip and fall.

Check your car engines

Cats and smaller wildlife can easily crawl under the hood of vehicles to find a safe and warm spot in the winter months. Mississauga Animal Services recommends tapping the hood of your car to scare them away before starting the vehicle. Keep antifreeze locked away as it is poisonous. Make sure bottles of antifreeze are closed – clean up immediately if you spill some.

Create a cozy home

If you must keep your pet outdoors, ensure they have winterized shelters. The outdoor enclosure must be:

  1. Made of hard durable material
  2. Waterproof
  3. Constructed of a material that can be easily cleaned
  4. Maintained in a good state of repair from cracks, holes, rust and other damage
  5. Avoids the transfer of pathogenic agents
  6. Adequately ventilated for the health, welfare and comfort of the animal enclosed therein
  7. Insulated so all walls, the floor and ceiling protect against cold weather
  8. Equipped with a door flap during cold weather
  9. Cleaned with a dry bed provided

There are also by-laws in place for the general provisions of owning an animal. Every owner of an animal shall humanely treat the animal. This includes:

  1. A waterproof shelter for the animal
  2. Shelter for the animal that is large enough for its size and breed
  3. Enough food and water for the animal
  4. Access to shade during warm weather, which does not include shade provided by an Animal enclosure
  5. Sanitary conditions for the animal
  6. If an animal is hurt, sick or neglected, it is the owner’s responsibility to provide the right level of Veterinary care.

If you have concerns about pets left outdoors in cold weather, contact Mississauga Animal Services at 905-896-5858 to report it.

SOURCE City of Mississauga

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