Hello! Welcome to Canada, where the summers seem fast, and the winters seem to drag on!
We all the love the outdoors in beautiful spring weather, hot summer days and crisp autumn breezes. But how many of us truly enjoy the bitter cold? We must ask the same question for our pets.
Dogs and cats can still enjoy the outdoors, but we must keep in mind the length of time allotted for playtime. It is true that some breeds, like the Husky, are more tolerant of colder climates but they should not be left outside for extended periods of time, especially in below freezing conditions.
I once saw a video of a vet do an experiment sleeping outside in a non-insulated dog house. His body temperature actually came down to clinical hypothermia and had to end the experiment.
If your pets do stay outdoors a lot or even overnight, it is imperative to provide adequate shelter. Provide an insulated room with soft, warm bedding, away from wind and snowfall, with a safe heat-lamp if possible. I like to have my pets close by my side, all cozy on a cold winter day. This is particularly true for senior pets whose bones and joints feel the cold a little harsher!
Keep in mind how much we bundle up for a walk outside! There are coats and sweaters of all types and sizes that help keep your pets snug and warm while they enjoy some daily exercise. But let’s not forget those pads on their feet. These can get very cold and very quickly. Even the salted sidewalks can cause discomfort to the paws. There are many choices of boots, shoes and snow booties available in pet stores and online.
Cats will seek shelter and can hide easily. Please take a little time to give a gentle pound on the hood of your car, or honk the horn before starting. There may just be a kitty in there seeking shelter from the bitter wind and snow.
My personal feeling is, if it is too cold for me, it is too cold for my beloved pet. Let’s all stay safe and cozy this winter! It’s great to be Canadian, eh?
Written by: Heather Houghton, Veterinary Technician/Diabetic Consultant