As much of Alberta is dealing with extremely cold temperatures, the Calgary Humane Society (CHS) is reminding people that if they’re finding it cold, their pets are too.
“Sometimes we’ll see pets that are left outside too long and people don’t realize and maybe think that their dog or their cat, if it’s an outside cat, can tolerate the weather,” CHS community manager Sage Pullen McIntosh said on Friday.
Temperatures in Calgary are forecast to hover around the mid -20s through the weekend, with wind chills expected to feel even colder, according to Global weather specialist Jodi Hughes.
Friday’s overnight low in Calgary is expected to be -27 C with wind chill close to -40. Saturday’s high is expected to be -26 and wind chill at -26.
Edmonton saw its coldest day of the year on Friday, with the temperature dipping below -30 early Friday morning.
“Really, what we say to people is, ‘If it’s too cold for you, it’s probably too cold for your pet, so just keep that in mind and really keep a close eye on them when the temperatures get this low,'” Pullen McIntosh said.
She said frostbite is the most common condition the society sees. A lot of stray animals, mainly cats, suffer frostbite to their tails, ears or paws.
So what should you do if you have a pet that needs some time outside?
Prepare them the same way you get yourself ready for the frigid temperatures, Pullen McIntosh said.
“Booties and jackets for dogs — get them comfortable in the home before they go outside.”
She also said keeping their exposure to the cold to short periods of time is key.
“Just keep the walks really short,” she said. “Maybe just playing a little bit of fetch in the backyard if you find that’s going to be better. [Keep] a close eye on them to make sure they’re tolerating it well.”
For animals that do spend a lot of time outside, the Alberta Animal Protection Act requires pet owners provide a heated, insulated shelter with a significant wind break for them. It’s also required that your pets have a heated water dish.
Anyone who feels an animal has been left out in the cold for too long can file a complaint with the humane society.
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