Kelowna SPCA gives tips on pet safety during harsh winter conditions

SPCA strongly urges pet owners to keep all animals inside during the winter

As the bitter winter sets in and the days grow colder, many pets in the community succumb to the elements, often to the surprise of their owners.

According to the Kelowna SPCA, this time of the year there are often many tragic stories of animals getting sick, getting frostbitten or even worse dying due to severe weather conditions.

Sean Hogan, branch manager for the local SPCA, strongly urges pet owners to keep all animals indoors during cold weather.

“Realistically, if you must keep your animals outside than you need to ensure that they have access to shelter that’s off the ground,” said Hogan.

“Ensure their shelter protects them from the wind, the cold, dampness and that it is properly insulated.”

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While Hogan recognizes that keeping your dog or cat inside is not always ideal for some, there are many clothing options to give your animal that extra layer.

“There are a lot of options for animals such as coats and booties,” he said.

“Booties are great because they keep the snow from getting compacted in between the toes (of the animal, which leads to frostbite).”

Hogan also urges owners to be consistently checking your pet’s water to ensure it’s not frozen. He recommends heated bowls to help combat this issue and encourages members of the community to keep an eye out for free-roaming cats that don’t have shelter.

“There are some really amazing cheap options to help out feral cats by using totes and hay, which can be found online,” he said.

When it comes to walking your dog, Hogan recommends owners to pay attention to their body language.

“If they are shivering or stopping, or really showing no interest in being outside I would say honour that and bring them in. It’s knowing your dog. Knowing your animal is critical.”

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An animal rescue group in Lake Country has even taken all their animals inside due to the recent cold snap.

Warren Peace Bunny Sanctuary owner Antoinette Monod said she brought in all of her animals including goats, chickens, turkeys, guinea pigs and rabbits, but has a trick to keep animal’s insulated when they return to the outdoors on Friday.

“Straw is really good insulation and is really good for heat,” said Monod.

“My biggest tip is that if anyone has animals that they have to keep outside, they should have a really good thick bed of straw that (the animal) can bury into.”

She also strongly urges pet owners to never use blankets as insulators as they are prone to get wet and freeze.

If you have concerns about animal neglect or cruelty ensure to call the SPCA hotline at 1855-622-7722, which is available seven days a week.

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