Cold Weather And Pets

With temperatures expecting to dip well below freezing over the next several days the BC SPCA is urging all pet guardians to be sure their animals are brought indoors or have access to warm, dry housing.

"The freezing temperatures and wind chill are definitely unusual for southern British Columbia, so people should take steps to ensure their animals are appropriately cared for by bringing them indoors and if that isn't possible to make sure they have insulated housing that is protected from winds," says Dr. Jamie Lawson, chief animal health officer for the BC SPCA.

"Animals also must have access to fresh water and feeding extra food in the cold weather helps animals that are burning more calories to stay warm."

People with farm animals must also make sure that animals have adequate cover from the elements and that all water containers are kept ice-free. When walking dogs special attention should be paid to cleaning the pads of dogs' feet as snow and ice can irritate the foot pads.

Road salt can also contribute to irritation and ingesting the salt when pets lick their paws can lead to health issues. The SPCA recommends using pet friendly, non-corrosive de-icing compounds readily available through retail outlets.

Other winter pet tips include ensuring you are using pet-safe, propylene-based antifreeze. Ethylene glycol antifreeze is extremely toxic to pets and wildlife - a mere tablespoon enough to kill a cat or dog. It is also smart to thump the hood of your vehicle before starting it in case an animal seeking warmth has crawled into the motor compartment.

The South Okanagan Similkameen BCSPCA branch has experienced increased call volume over the past few days from concerned citizens reacting to animals left outside during the freezing weather. If you wish to report your concerns or have questions please contact the shelter at 250-493-0136.

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