Northwestern Ontario has played witness to a bone-chilling cold snap in recent weeks with temperatures ranging from -20 to minus -30 degrees Celsius without the windchill.

People can bundle up as they have all the facilities within their home, but some pets need to embark outside and face the cold to handle their business.

Chris Madison, from It's A Dog's Life Fostering Network spoke on some very important pet safety tips when taking your furry friend outside for any length of time.

“The biggest thing I find is a dog's feet, that is where they really struggle especially if they haven’t gotten used to the cold. I would recommend if your dog can handle wearing boots. There are all kinds of jackets and coats on the market,” Madison said.

“I wouldn’t really have them out in minus 40-degree weather without some sort of protection, and I would not have them out very long especially if they’re an inside dog.”

Madison is encouraging the community to welcome stray or stranded pets into their home to warm up during the cold weather until the appropriate services can arrive.

As well she is suggesting people if they see any harm being done to a pet such as being tied up with no shelter to reach out to the Treaty Three Police Service (T3PS) or Animal Welfare.

The Ontario SPCA and Humane Society have released their 10 winter pet safety tips:

  1. Never leave your cat or dog alone in a cold car.   Cars hold in the cold, acting like refrigerators, which can cause your pet to freeze to death.
  2. Keep your pets warm.  If it’s too cold for you to stay outside, it’s too cold for your pet. Although some breeds can withstand colder temperatures, it is important to supply adequate housing.  Click here to view our Ideal Doghouse brochure.
  3. Keep animals away from winter puddles.   They may contain ethylene glycol found in antifreeze which can be fatal if ingested.
  4. Keep your pets away from bodies of water.  With melting ice and rising water levels, lakes can be extremely dangerous for you and your pet.
  5. Wipe your pet’s paws and underside after being outside.  Salt and ice melt can irritate and burn, and also be fatal if ingested.
  6. Be aware of cats seeking warmth under vehicle hoods.  Try knocking on the hood of your car to scare them away before starting the engine.
  7. Don’t let your dog off leash especially during a snowstorm.  They can easily lose their scent and get lost.
  8. A warm place to sleep.  Ensure your pet has a thick cozy bed or blanket away from any drafts and off the cold floor.
  9. Dress for the weather.  Use booties and winter sweaters to help keep your pets warm during outdoor excursions.
  10. Prepare an emergency pet survival kit.  You never know when a storm might keep you from being able to leave the house for extended periods.   Having an emergency pet survival kit could save a life.