WEB ONLY: Humane Society reminds people to protect their pets from cold

GUELPH - The recent ex­treme temperatures have caus­ed the Humane Society here to remind pet owners that their pets are not immune to the cold simply because they have a fur coat.

The society recommends that all pets spend extremely cold days indoors. If there are care concerns about any ani­mal, please contact the Guelph Humane Society immediately at 519-824-3091.

“If it is too cold for you, it is too cold for your pet”, said Elizabeth Bonkink, executive director of the Guelph Humane Society.

If the temperature is below freezing or there is a wind chill warning, pets should not be left outside for extended periods of time.

She suggested watching for signs that a pet has had enough: bring them in if they are shivering, vocalizing, or they start to hold their paws off the ground. Remember young or elderly pets and pets on medi­cation can be more susceptible to the cold – keep them indoors as much as possible.

Other winter hazards in­clude:

– Ethylene glycol, found in anti-freeze and some brake fluids, tastes sweet to pets but can cause death. Be sure to clean up spills and watch for spills when out on walks.

– Salt and chemicals from sidewalks can be ingested by a pet. Wipe their paws to prevent them from licking the sub­stance, or use booties.

Car hazards:

– Leaving a pet in the car in cold weather could cause it to freeze to death. A dog cannot heat space that large with its body heat.

– Pets can lose their way in the snow and sound dampening effects mean pets cannot hear cars coming.

– Cats seeking warmth often end up inside car engines, which could prove fatal. Be sure to knock on the hood before starting the car.

Warmth is welcome:

– Keep pets comfortable and warm at night; try a hot water bottle.

– Coats and booties help a dog stay toasty warm.

– Don’t groom a dog down to the skin – a longer coat will provide more warmth.

– After bathing a pet, ensure it is completely dry before allowing it outside.


– Cautious exercise is re­commended. It is one of the best ways of warming up in cooler weather, but if the pet is having difficulty due to snow, icy surfaces, or appears to be winded, shorten the usual exercise time.

– Be sure to check the pet’s paws for ice balls or injuries on return from outdoors.

Outdoor pets:

Guelph Humane Society recommends that all pets be al­lowed to spend their winter days indoors. However, those pets that do spend a great deal of time outside still need pro­tection. In particular, they need adequate housing and refuge from the cold.

Frozen foods:

– Cats and dogs that live out­side require more calories to produce heat.

– Check water to ensure it has not frozen or spilled. Check into heated and tip-proof bowls.

Sufficient dog houses are:

– an appropriate size, as dogs use their body heat to heat the house.

–  built with weatherproof materials.

– facing away from pre­vail­ing winds.

– Filled with straw bedding that is changed frequently. Blankets or rugs freeze.

– Elevated six inches off the ground.

– Insulated with styrofoam, with a clear rubberized cover­ing on the doors.

– Easy for a pet to get into.

– Built with a small hallway leading to a larger resting space.

– Do not use a heat lamp or other type of home heater as it may cause fires.

On the coldest days, allow the pet to come indoors.