City shares tips to keep dogs safe during the winter season

Now that cold weather has arrived, Toronto Animal Services has some tips to keep your dog safe during the winter months.

For dogs kept outdoors for longer than 30 minutes, residents should provide a weather-proofed and insulated shelter that has a roof, enclosed sides, doorway and solid level floor raised at least two inches from the ground. There should be no cracks or openings other than the entrance. Dogs should always have access to the indoors.

On extremely cold days, residents should keep their dogs inside.

To prevent cold-related health impacts, residents should:

• Never shave a dog down to the skin in winter, as longer coats provide more warmth. If your dog is short-haired, think about getting a warm sweater or coat that covers from tail to neck, and around their belly.

• Before going outside, consider putting booties on your dog to protect paws from salt and chemicals. Alternatively, a protectant can be massaged into paw pads, and bring a towel on long walks to clean off any irritated paws.

• After walks, wash and dry your dog’s feet and underbelly to remove ice, salt and chemicals. Check for cracks in paw pads or redness between the toes.

• Pets burn extra energy by trying to stay warm. Talk to your vet about feeding your dog a little more during the cold weather months.

• When possible, consider using products that contain propylene glycol rather than ethylene glycol. Antifreeze is a lethal poison for your pet. Always clean up any spills from your vehicle.

• Make sure your pet has a warm place to sleep, off the floor and away from all drafts.

More cold weather tips for dogs are available at toronto.ca/petsinthecity. Pets are also welcome at all 24-hour respite sites. More information about services is available at toronto.ca/homelesshelp.

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