Pet Blog

Ottawa Humane Society cracking down on cold weather cruelty

Now that winter has finally arrived, the Ottawa Humane Society (OHS) wishes to remind pet owners that plunging temperatures can be dangerous and even life-threatening for pets. While the OHS strongly recommends that you bring your dog inside in extreme temperatures, owners of outside dogs need to be especially vigilant about providing appropriate care on days like this.

“The OHS will have zero tolerance for animals left outside without adequate shelter from the elements, or an ample supply of fresh water during these cold months,” says OHS Inspector Miriam Smith. “If we find a dog left outside without adequate shelter or water, in intolerable conditions with no owner around, the dog will be removed for its own safety and animal cruelty charges may be laid.”

Dogs that live outside require as a minimum a doghouse soundly built of weatherproof materials facing away from prevailing winds. It should be elevated and insulated, with a door flap and bedding of straw or wood shavings. Animals that are outside need a constant source of fresh water, so check your dog’s bowl often to ensure it hasn’t frozen.

Keep your animals away from ice-covered bodies of water—even small ponds you think may be frozen over. Although many surfaces may appear solid, ice is often uneven and thin in places, and your pet may fall in and possibly suffer hypothermia or even death.

It’s best to limit the amount of outdoor time for any animal in frigid temperatures, so take your dog for lots of quick short walks instead of one long one. Consider a sweater or coat for your pet on cold days when you go out, especially if your dog is very young or old, or is sick or short-coated. Be sure to wipe down its paws each time you return home to remove chemicals or salt often used to melt ice and snow. These can be poisonous if ingested and can irritate sensitive feet.

The OHS recommends that cat owners should always keep their cats indoors year round.  If your cat does go outdoors, make sure it’s only for short periods, and ensure your cat is inside overnight.

Remember never to leave an animal in an unheated car for long periods of time, and be sure to knock on the car hood each time you start the engine to scare any cats away. Cats often crawl under car hoods to find warmth and can be injured or killed by a starting motor.

If you see an animal in distress or without adequate shelter from the cold, call the OHS Emergency Unit at (613) 725-1532.

For media enquiries, contact:

Mandy Chepeka, Manager: Communications

OttawaHumane Society

613-725-3166 ext. 261

Article reprinted with permission


2 Responses to this Article, So Far

  1. Avatar Andrew says:

    I agree with the OHS as we are experiencing uncommon extreme cold conditions here on the est coast and I am sure that many a pet does not have the appropriate shelter from the elements that we are seeing so please take the time people and provide extra blankets and shelter or get a pet door and let your pets have access to your warm house

  2. Avatar Pet resort and spa says:

    Nice blog. Thanks for the useful tips.

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