With winter in full swing and the potential for the temperature to drop well below zero, it’s important to keep your pets safe, as it’s likely that if you’re cold so are they.
Dana Haukaas, the Moose Jaw Humane Society’s Executive Director says watching the temperature is the first thing people should do before taking their dog outside.
“You want to take your dogs for shorter walks when the weather gets cold,” says Haukaas. “You can buy them jackets and booties. When they lift their paws, they are done. It’s the same for putting them out to play in your yard and you want to limit their time when the temperature dips below –25 degrees with the wind chill or not.”
Scheduling your walks around the warmer parts of the day is also a good idea. If that doesn’t work with a busy schedule then Haukaas explains ways to get them some exercise while inside.
“You can also do some indoor interactive games with your pets. You could buy them a slow feeder and a puzzle feeder. That goes for cats as well.”
While on their walk it is also important to watch out for ice melt or salt that may be on sidewalks or driveways.
“No all of the ice melt is pet friendly so it can cause irritation to your dog's paws. Make sure when you come home from those walks you give their toes a dip in some clean water and dry them off well.”
When it comes to cats, Haukaas recommends keeping them inside for the duration of the winter.
“It prevents them from annoying your neighbours, being hit by cars, and getting lost. That should be the case no matter what the weather is and would also keep our numbers down here at the shelter for stray cats.”
Just like dogs, cats do have some tell-tale signs of when they have had too much cold weather.
“If they curl up, they are trying to keep maintain their core body temperature. When the temperatures drop, its body is warm and the surface is cold and when the snow turns into ice, their bodies can actually get stuck and can’t move.”
If you do come across a stray cat, Haukaas asks you to phone the humane society and they will come out and provide assistance.
There are dangers just like in the summer with leaving your pet in the vehicle for too long in the winter.
“You might think you’re going to be in for five minutes but you’re in there for a little bit longer. Command start is a gift, as people can start their vehicle from inside the store to try and keep them warm. Really, if you’re just going out for a few errands, your pet would rather wait for you at home.”
For any more information or question about how to keep your pets safe this winter, people can call the MJHS at 306-692-1517.