With the current frigid temperatures a fur coat may not be enough to protect a four-legged friend.
Marla Somersall, executive director of the P.E.I. Humane Society, said the advice is pretty simple for pet owners – it’s just as cold for them as it is for us.
“Our preference is that people be very, very careful and bring their pets inside and keep them warm . . . or just take them out and supervise them if they have to be out to do their business,’’ Somersall said. “The supervision piece is important.’’
She said an animal’s ear tips and tail can freeze very quickly, especially in the case of cats.
With dogs, Somersall said it’s important they get access to as much shelter as possible and that they also have access to water and extra food. For those who usually leave a bowl of water outside for pets, keep in mind it’s likely frozen.
“They need more food if they’re outside in this kind of weather.’’
She noted that road salt can also be particularly hard on pets.
“If you can imagine walking barefoot through salt for any period of time, that’s essentially what’s happening for them. The pads on their feet will crack and will actually bleed. The salt will get between the pads on their feet and cause damage as well.’’
Somersall recommends people use sand around the house and points out that the humane society uses pet-safe salt to melt snow and ice. It may not be as effective as regular salt, but it is safer for pets.
Dog owners are advised to put coats on their pets if the animal doesn’t already have a heavy fur coat.
“It’s really important for them to have access to something that keeps them warm while they’re out there.’’
As for dogs not used to being outside, Somersall suggests pet owners consider putting booties on their feet to protect their paws.
Every summer, the humane society is one of the louder voices in telling people not to leave their pets unattended in hot cars. The same advice applies at this time of year.
“Their body heat is not enough to warm a vehicle . . . (you’re) better off to leave them at home or have someone look after them.’’
Somersall added that with the new Animal Welfare Act, animals are not allowed to be left outside for any more than 30 minutes between 11 p.m. and 6 a.m.