When Fur Isn’t Enough: Keep Pets Safe and Warm This Winter

Cat in blanket

Winter is approaching and temperatures are ready to drop in the coming weeks. Preparing for the cold days ahead means thinking twice about the safety of our roads, homes, cars and families, but also our pets.

Around this time of year, Mississauga Animal Services wants to remind pet owners: if it is too cold for you, it’s also too cold for your pets.

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

Coat check – Dogs like Chihuahuas, Italian Grey Hounds and other breeds have very short fur. These dogs require a coat or sweater if they’re outside in cold weather, whereas dogs such as Malamutes and St. Bernard’s have thick double coats that 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. Be cautious of areas that aren’t salted – you or your pet could slip and fall.

Check your car engines – Sometimes cats and smaller wildlife crawl under the hood of vehicles to find a safe and warm spot in the winter months. Animal Services recommends banging the hood of your car to scare them away before starting the vehicle. Keep antifreeze locked away as it is poisonous. Make sure bottles are closed tightly and if you spill any, clean it up immediately.

Protecting pets – Keep pets indoors when possible and shorten bathroom breaks and walks during really cold days. If you must keep your pet outdoors, ensure they have winterized shelters. The outdoor enclosure must be:

  1. Constructed of hard, durable waterproof material that can be easily cleaned
  2. Maintained in a good state of repair from cracks, holes, rust and other damage
  3. Avoids the transfer of pathogenic agents
  4. Adequately ventilated for the health, welfare and comfort of the animal enclosed therein
  5. Insulated so all walls, floor and ceiling are protected against cold weather
  6. Equipped with a door flap during cold weather
  7. 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. Adequate veterinary care deemed necessary by a reasonably prudent person to relieve the animal from distress caused by injury, neglect or disease

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

SOURCE City of Mississauga

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