Cold Weather Safety Tips for Your Pets You Need to Know

by | General Pet Care |

Winter weather is here and the Ontario SPCA wants to remind pet owners that the cold weather can be harmful to your pets. Exposure to severe weather can cause serious illness or death to animals.

Here’s what you need to know to help keep your pets safe and warm:

Signs that can indicate your dog is too cold

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    photo credit: Soren Wolf Vuko via photopin (license)

    Shaking or shivering

  • Hunched posture with a tucked tail
  • Whining or barking
  • Change in behaviour, like seeming anxious or uncomfortable
  • Reluctance to keep walking or trying to turn around
  • Seeks places for shelter
  • Lifts paw off the ground

Signs of hypothermia

If you suspect your dog is displaying signs of hypothermia, wrap your dog in a blanket or coat, seek a warm shelter, and contact your vet immediately.

Signs to watch for:

  • Weakness
  • Lethargy
  • Muscle stiffness
  • Slow, shallow breathing
  • Lack of mental alertness
  • Fixed and dilated pupils
  • Stupor-like state
  • Loss of consciousness

Keeping Pets Warm and Dry

Remember: never shave your dog down to the skin in winter; they need their fur to keep warm.

Ensure your pet always has a warm place to sleep away from drafts and off the floor. A thick cozy dog or cat bed with a blanket or pillow is great.

While the Ontario SPCA strongly recommends bringing your dog indoors, dogs that live outside require as a minimum a dry, draft-free doghouse soundly built of weatherproof materials with the door facing away from prevailing winds.

For more information on the ideal doghouse, as well as instructions on how to build the perfect house for your outdoor dog, read our Ideal Doghouse brochure or our blog post Ideal Doghouse (link new doghouse post).