With temperatures dropping well below freezing around the province, we want to share our tips on how to keep your pet safe in winter conditions.
The BC SPCA strongly urges guardians to keep all animals indoors during cold weather. If you must keep domestic or farm animals outside, ensure they have access to shelter that is off the ground, provides protection from wind, cold and dampness, and is properly insulated.
- Regular checks to ensure drinking water has not frozen over are a must.
- Cats or wild animals may be using your vehicle for shelter from the cold. Think and thump before you drive off!
Guardians should watch for the salt or sand used on sidewalks and streets to make driving and walking safer for humans. It can get between your dog’s paw pads or toes, and you don’t want them licking or ingesting it during or after a walk. Dry your pet’s paw pads after being outside and clean between their toes and pads.
- For your own sidewalk, choose a pet-friendly, non-corrosive de-icing compound readily available through retail outlets.
- It’s also important to walk slowly and carefully when conditions are icy or slippery because — like humans — your canine companion can slip and injure themselves.
- Consider fun activities inside if it’s too cold to be out and about with your dog. Many of our AnimalKind-accredited trainers offer training classes online.
Dogs may have fur coats but some aren’t very thick. They get cold and can suffer from exposure just like humans. If temperatures are extremely cold, guardians may want to think about getting their dog a winter jacket or covering, or even dog shoes and/or booties to wear to help protect their paws.
Tips for wildlife
- During the winter months, finding food, water and shelter is extra challenging for wildlife. Learn more about wild animals and cold weather.
- Use pet-safe, propylene glycol-based antifreeze instead of ethylene glycol-based antifreeze, which is toxic to wildlife and pets. A mere tablespoon of antifreeze made with ethylene glycol can kill a cat or small dog. Learn more.
- When winterizing your camping gear, ensure wild animals or pets are not hiding inside, as some equipment can exert intense pressure when being expanded or dismantled.