When winter sets in, we prepare to keep ourselves warm, but we should also do the same for our pets.

“One of the misconceptions is that we see these fluffy fur coats and we assume they keep them warm, but when the temperatures falls, especially when they get wet, they’re susceptible to hypothermia and frostbite,” said Kylie Adams, coordinator of communications and marketing at the Edmonton Humane Society (EHS).

She recommends keeping your cats indoors if you can, while limiting outdoor time for dogs based on weather conditions and the size and coat length of the animal.

Dog owners should limit outdoor time or provide outdoor dogs with a properly insulated shelter. | Mari Sasano

“There are signs to look for, including shivering, picking up their paws, or biting and licking at paws—there is no fur on them—and refusing to move and play. And with some animals, consider boots and coats, if they’re comfortable with them.” If you suspect frostbite or hypothermia, call your vet.

Outdoor dogs should have a properly insulated shelter with straw or hay (not blankets) as bedding. If you see an owned pet without shelter or left in a car, call the EHS’s Animal Protection department at 780.491.3517.

The City of Edmonton can also help lost or stray animals.

Animal Care and Control Centre holds an identified animal for 10 days and an unidentified animal for three days. | Supplied by Animal Care and Control Centre

“Call 311 and an officer will come and pick it up, or alternatively, take it to a vet to see if they have a microchip. If the info is up to date, they’ll return the animal,” said Tanya Laughren, community relations advisor at the Animal Care and Control Centre. Officers only pick up dogs, but will pick up cats in an Animal Control borrowed trap, which is a humane trap for abandoned or feral animals.

If you find a lost pet, try to keep it warm, either by bringing it inside or into a shelter like a garage or kennel. You can never be sure if an animal is friendly or not, so if you have your own pets, keep the stray in a room by itself. Provide fresh water, but Laughren recommends not feeding the animal, since it might have allergies or sensitivities.

Animal are well taken care of at the Animal Care and Control Centre. | Supplied by Animal Care and Control Centre

Take injured animals to Guardian Veterinary Centre at 5620 99 Street (call 780.436.5880), where they’ll be examined and cared for, otherwise the Animal Control officer will take it to their facility.

“Our vets and behaviour team assess each animal. They each get their own kennel space, bedding, enrichment activities, food, and water. They’re taken for walks, there’s a treadmill, heated floor, and spa music. The animals relax and they know they’re in good hands. And we can do surgeries on site for emergencies at the vet’s discretion.”

If Animal Control can’t trace an owner from tags, tattoos, or microchip, they will post a photo on their web page, edmonton.ca/pets, and wait for an owner to claim it. Animals are held for 10 days if there’s ID, or three days if there’s no ID. Unclaimed animals go to the EHS or to a rescue.

Each animal is assessed by veterinarians and the behaviour team at the Animal Care and Control Centre. | Supplied by Animal Care and Control Centre.

It’s important to have ID on your pet with current pet licensing or microchip company information, and to make sure they’re secure in your yard when they’re outside.

Laughren suggests walking the back fence line in your backyard to ensure the fence is in good condition. The ground can shift in cold weather or a strong wind can damage a fence.

Although it’s tempting to “rescue” a lost animal, a pet needs to be reunited with its family whenever possible.

“It’s important to note that it’s illegal to keep or rehome an animal. Animals get out all the time, and you should try not to judge.”


City of Edmonton

http://edmonton.ca/pets or 311


Edmonton Humane Society’s Animal Protection department: 780.491.3517


Guardian Veterinary Centre 5620 99 Street (call 780.436.5880)

Featured Image: A neighbourhood cat enjoys the fall weather, but in the winter pet owners should try to keep cats inside. | Talea Medynski