Pet Safety During Winter Months

spaniel puppy wearing a winter coat playing in the snow

Our ABL family is all inclusive. We wrap our arms around our workers, staff, clients and our family and our pets. We are proud and support many of our staff who are actively involved in fostering and adopting animals who desperately need safety, love and a nurturing home.  As a great move for 2020, a specialized team of about 100 provincial inspectors will be trained to enforce animal cruelty laws in Ontario under new Provincial Animal Welfare Services Act.

Here are 6 tips to help keep your pet safe and active during these cold winter months:

  • Never leave your cat or dog alone in a cold car as they can freeze or suffer from frostbite or hypothermia – first aid tips provided below
  • Keep animals away from winter puddles as they may contain ethylene glycol found in antifreeze
  • Wipe your pet’s paws and underside after being outside to reduce the irritation and burns caused from salt and ice

Hint: Massaging petroleum jelly or other paw protectants into paw pads before going outside can help protect from salt and chemical agents. 

  •  Make some noise as cats can seek warmth under vehicle hoods thus knock on the hood before starting the engine
  • Don’t let your pet off their leash during a snowstorm as they can lose their scent and get lost
  • Keep your pet active physically and mentally with an indoor games such as a scavenger hunt – fun details provided below
large dog under the cover of a holiday-themed blanket


Hypothermia in pets results in a lower body temperature and symptoms include paleness of the skin and strong shivering and sluggish demeanor.  

  • Warm some blankets in the clothes dryer or with a hair dryer.
  • Wrap the dog in the warm blankets.
  • Wrap a hot water bottle or heating pad in a towel and place it against the dog’s abdomen for about 10 minutes. Do not use it unwrapped, as this will burn the skin.
  • Continue with first aid steps until the temperature of the skin is above 37.8°C
  • Continue monitoring your pet until they are awake, walking around and behaving normally.

This game can be played with all pets! It works best using treats or kibble that have a strong scent to attract your pet to them. Hide food in tough, but not impossible to reach places around your house. Start with an easier hiding place that your pet can find quickly and then build up the level of difficulty. Make them work for these treats! Cats can jump and climb places and dogs can hustle up and down the stairs.  Get them moving all over your house! Start simple so they understand the game, then make it more challenging!

This information is provided as useful tips and does not replace the medical care of a veterinarian.

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