Pet Safety

Your pet’s health and safety are important. During extreme cold temperatures, you may need to take extra safety precautions to help protect your pet.

Alberta Animal Protection Act

The Alberta Animal Protection Act looks to ensure the safety, proper care and treatment of animals. Under the Act, a pet owner or anyone who looks after an animal must:

  • Ensure that the animal has adequate food and water;
  • Provide the animal with adequate care when the animal is wounded or ill;
  • Provide the animal with reasonable protection from injurious heat or cold; and
  • Provide the animal with adequate shelter, ventilation and space.

Take Extra Precautions in Cold Weather

Pet with paws on the windowThroughout the winter months, please be aware of your pet’s cold tolerance.

Some signs that your pet may be in distress due to the cold are:

  • Lifting their feet high off of the ground
  • Licking feet (ice building up on the pads of their feet)
  • Shivering
  • Shaking
  • Whining
  • Appearing anxious
  • Slowing down or stopping often
  • Tucking feet under their body
  • Curling up in a tight ball with their tail over them

When temperatures plummet, please consider taking extra precautions, such as keeping your pet indoors and adjusting the length of time you spend exercising your pet outdoors. Even long-haired animals that are accustomed to being outside can be at risk during the extreme cold.

Old MacDonald Kennels, the Town’s Animal Control Contractor has provided some tips below to help keep your pets safe and comfortable during cold winter days:

  • Supervise outdoor time – Some pets want to be outside, regardless of the weather. Keep an eye on your pet when they are outside playing to watch for early signs that they’re cold, such as holding up paws or shivering.
  • Modify outdoor activities – Limit the length of time spent outside and choose walking routes that loop past your home.
  • Leave your pets at home and inside – When running errands or when you’re away at work, please leave your pet inside to limit their chances of being in distress due to the cold.
  • Keep paws clean – Use a damp towel to wipe your pet’s paws and underside if they’ve walked along salted sidewalks or roads. Sanding and salt used on roadways can irritate your pet’s paws and can potentially cause illness if ingested.
  • Clean up car spills – Keep an eye out for antifreeze, or other automotive leaks in your driveway. Antifreeze has a sweet taste that can be attractive to animals and can be fatal if ingested.
  • Know your animal’s unique needs – Some pets, especially short-coated breeds, may benefit from a sweater or coat as an extra layer of warmth.
  • Keep water unfrozen – Frequently replace the water for your pet or use a heated bowl. Avoid metal bowls that tongues can stick and freeze to.
  • Provide extra food – If your pet is spending time outdoors, please ensure extra food is available to provide the necessary energy to stay warm.
  • Watch for cats seeking warmth under vehicle hoods – Knock on the hood of your car or sound the horn before starting the engine. Cats hiding under hoods can be seriously injured.

For more tips, please visit the Alberta SPCA’s website by clicking here.