Ontario SPCA invited to provide input on standards of care for outdoor dogs

by | Dog Care Interesting |

The Ontario SPCA and Humane Society is committed to creating a brighter future for animals, which is why when we see a win for animals, we want to share this victory with everyone who cares about our furry friends. 

The Government of Ontario recently updated the standards of care required for dogs who are kept outdoors and tethered outdoors, and the Ontario SPCA and Humane Society was invited to share its recommendations.  

Educating caregivers to keep dogs happier and healthier  

The updated standards of care document is a resource for the caregivers of dogs who are kept outdoors. It contains best practices and care tips, including many that were brought forward by the Ontario SPCA. Here are a few of our wins: 

  • Pavement, cement and sand surfaces can absorb sunlight and become a hot surface in the summer. Providing the dog with access to other, cooler surface options such as grass may assist in preventing heat-related distress. 
  • If puppies are accessing water containers, the container should not be so large or deep that puppies can fall in and drown. 
  • Signs of dehydration in dogs 
  • Consuming snow reduces a dog’s body temperature and may lead to it consuming more calories to maintain its body condition. 
  • Collars and harnesses should be checked regularly for wear and tear, and to ensure they fit properly, particularly for younger dogs that are growing. 
  • Brushing dogs regularly helps reduce matting.  
  • Consider using separate food and water bowls for each dog if necessary to prevent competition and minimize resource-based conflict and aggression while group housing.

An in-depth standards of care guide is available to those who care for outdoor dogs. It outlines the current laws, as well as best practices in care. A summary of the regulation in accessible language is publicly available at the Ontario.ca page for dogs kept outdoors. 

Why does this matter?  

Creating a brighter future for animals begins with humane education. We are excited to share knowledge and resources with others to help improve the care and treatment for animals.  

The Ontario SPCA shared input on updates to the legislation in April 2022 when Provincial Animal Welfare Services Act O. Reg 444/19 was updated. This is the provincial legislation that addresses all dogs being kept outdoors, including working dogs and livestock guardians. Many of our recommendations were accepted, including preventing the tethering of sick or injured dogs and increasing standards for bedding. 

There is still more work to be done, but the updated legislation earlier this year and now the updated standards of care are a positive step forward to protect working dogs in Ontario. We will continue to advocate for animals and we invite you to join us. Visit ChangeForAnimals.ca to sign up for our email list for more ways you can get involved in creating change for animals.