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‘It’s an excruciating death’: SPCA reminding people to keep pets inside during cold temperatures

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Although animals may have fur covering them, they are not immune to cold weather. As Natasha Pace reports, the SPCA says dogs, cats and other pets should not be left outside in the cold for long periods of time – Dec 29, 2017

The Nova Scotia SPCA has been swamped this week with calls about pets being left outside in the cold weather. Since the weekend, they’ve responded to more than 80 reports.

“Twenty minutes in this kind of weather outside is enough,” said Special Const. Karen Pickering, of the SPCA. “Enough to use the washroom and back inside because you are risking frostbite. Frostbite of the pores, the ears, the nose.”

READ: Keep pets inside during cold snaps in the Maritimes: Nova Scotia SPCA

Cold weather can be deadly for pets 

Although animals may have fur covering them, they are not immune to cold weather. The SPCA says dogs, cats and other pets should not be left outside in the cold for long periods of time.

“Obviously, with the wind chill factor, taking that into account like it is right now, -30, it’s fatal, it’s lethal,” said Pickering.

“I don’t know if people understand just how deadly it is for those animals and it’s an excruciating death.”

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WATCH: Abandoned animals all too common in Nova Scotia, N.S. SPCA says

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Abandoned animals all too common in Nova Scotia, NS SPCA says – Jul 5, 2016

Pickering says that under the Animal Protection Act, any cat or dog that is outside longer than to use the washroom, must be provided with an insulated shelter, whether they use it or not.

Six one-week-old puppies were seized at the end of November by the SPCA after being found outside in -2 C weather. The puppies are now five weeks old and doing well at the animal shelter, although still too young to be adopted at this time.

“Before we even dip into minuses, so 1, 2 C, if you’re a short-furred animal, you can be in danger,” said Pickering.

“We try and get owners to engage with us and work with us, and if they don’t, we have to seize for the sake of the animal.”

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GALLERY: These puppies were seized in November by the SPCA 

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When they were found outside, the temperature was -2. Cory McGraw/Global News
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This is one of the puppies that was found outside. Cory McGraw/Global News
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The puppies were about a week old and could not open their eyes yet when they were found. File/Global News
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The puppies are doing well at the SPCA. They are still too young to be adopted. Cory McGraw/Global News

READ MORE: Dogs seized from North Preston home one step closer to finding furever homes

Pets owners limit time outside, buy jackets for furry friends

Although her dog Jake likes the winter, Erin O’Brien says she only takes him out for short periods of time when the temperatures are frigid.

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“He doesn’t mind the cold temperatures. He doesn’t need a jacket or anything, his fur does it for him,” said O’Brien. “I just keep him out for like 15 minutes at a time. I wouldn’t keep him out for prolonged periods.”

Erin O’Brien says she limits the amount of time her pup is outside when it’s cold. Cory McGraw/Global News

Dog walker Jenny MacKinnon also recommends that pet owners look at what gear may help their furry friend get through the winter a little easier.

“It all depends on their breed really, what’s going to be necessary for them,” said MacKinnon.

“Some dogs, especially ones with shorter hair, might need to have a sweater or a coat and other ones with longer hair might not need to. Also, you want to watch out for their feet, especially the young ones or ones that are allergy-prone even, you’ll definitely want to put some boots on them if at all possible.”

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Jenny MacKinnon is a dog walker. She says sometimes a sweater or a coat may help keep pets warm in the cold weather. Cory McGraw/Global News
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Sweaters or coats can help some animals with short fur stay warmer in the winter. Cory McGraw/Global News
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Boots are also used by many pet owners to help their furry friend when the temperature drops. Cory McGraw/Global News

WATCH: Think twice before giving pets as Christmas gifts: Nova Scotia advocates

Click to play video: 'Think twice before giving pets as Christmas gifts: Nova Scotia advocates' Think twice before giving pets as Christmas gifts: Nova Scotia advocates
Think twice before giving pets as Christmas gifts: Nova Scotia advocates – Dec 15, 2016

Think you spot neglect or abuse? Report it

The Nova Scotia SPCA is a registered charity and has been working to protect animals from cruelty since 1877.

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The organization receives more than 18,000 calls about animal welfare each year and employs four full-time special constables and a chief to carry out its mandate of preventing and investigating animal cruelty in the province.

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It's best to only let your pet out for about 20 minutes at a time when it's cold outside. Cory McGraw/Global News
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Pet owners are reminded to not let their animals stay outside for extended periods of time this winter. Cory McGraw/Global News

Anyone who suspects animal abuse or neglect is asked to contact the Nova Scotia SPCA by calling 1-888-703-7722, emailing animals@spcans.ca or filling out out an online complaint form.

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