DATE \@ "MMMM d, yyyy" doginsnow.jpgDecember 21, 2007, VANCOUVER – While many parts of Canada have experienced warmer than usual temperatures so far this fall, animals still require plenty of protection from the elements. And for the next four months the cold temperatures, snow, sleet and wind will only get worse putting many animals at risk warns The Humane Society of Canada (HSC).

Executive Director Michael O'Sullivan says that animal companions can be protected from most weather-related hazards by keeping them as indoor pets.

"Dogs and cats are social animals who want to spend time with their human guardians," says O'Sullivan. "Dogs and cats kept outdoors for extended periods are not only likely to be lonely, but they will be susceptible to many cold weather dangers as well as other hazards."

"Ice and salt also causes discomfort for pets as animals can develop ice balls between their toes," says Western Regional Director Al Hickey. "Salt and ice can easily be removed from pets' paws by placing the paws in warm, never hot, water and then gently drying them off with a towel."

While animals are exposed to numerous dangers during the winter months, one of the deadliest involves those who look the other way when they don't want to get involved.

Some Common Winter Hazards for Pets & Ways to Prevent Them

  • Pets kept outdoors during cold or inclement weather are susceptible to frostbite and hypothermia. Keeping animal companions as indoor pets and allowing dogs outside for short, supervised periods will ensure that they don’t suffer from the cold and snow. Old and very young pets are the most susceptible to frostbite and hypothermia, but even young, healthy pets can suffer and die from cold weather.
  • Felines who seek shelter and warmth under vehicle hoods are often killed or seriously injured when the engine is turned on. When the vehicle's engine is turned on the unsuspecting cat is injured, often fatally, by the fan or fan belt. Cats are particularly attracted to vehicles with block heaters or those which have been used recently and the engine is still warm. This tragedy can be averted by honking the horn or banging on the hood and waiting several seconds before starting the engine.
  • Ethylene glycol is used to a greater extent in cold weather as it is found in antifreeze. Even a small amount of this substance can be deadly to animals who ingest it. Spilt ethylene glycol must be thoroughly and immediately cleaned up. Less toxic antifreezes should be used whenever possible. Products containing ethylene glycol should be inaccessible to animals.
  • Ice and salt can cause discomfort for pets. Dogs and cats can develop ice balls between their toes. Salt and ice can be easily removed from pets’ paws by placing the paws in warm (never hot) water and then drying them off with a towel. Pets can also be protected from salt, ice and snow by equipping them with boots made for this purpose.
  • People who turn the other way when they see or hear about animals who are being neglected or abused are also responsible for the animals’ suffering. Alerting the proper authorities regarding pets who need help and educating people about good pet care are two simple ways to help protect animals.

"When people see cases of animal cruelty and neglect they need to alert the proper authorities which can include local humane societies and police detachments. People can also call The Humane Society of Canada, toll-free, at 1-800-641-KIND (5463)", says O’Sullivan.

CONTACT: Michael O'Sullivan by toll free 1-800-641-KIND or Michael on his cell phone (416) 876-9685 or at via twitter at and on Facebook at:

[For more than 17 years, Al Hickey was the Chief Executive of the BC SPCA and before that headed up the Alberta and BC Chambers of Commerce, and was the Executive Director of the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Vancouver. He has been The HSC Western Regional Director for over 12 years. He has 4 children and 6 grandchildren. For his lifetime of achievement dedicated to helping people, animals and the environment, we have bestowed upon him our prestigious Heroes for Animals Award, shared by only a handful of people and organizations.

A father with two children, and a houseful of dogs and cats, Michael O'Sullivan has worked across Canada and in over 110 countries during the last 40 years helping people, animals and nature.]

The Humane Society of Canada (HSC) works to protect dogs, cats, horses, birds, rabbits and small animals, livestock, lab animals, wildlife and the environment. We carry out hands on programs to help animals and nature, mount rescue operations, expose cruelty through hard hitting undercover investigations, work to pass laws to protect animals, use a multidisciplinary approach, support animal shelters and wildlife rehabilitation centres, and spread the word about how to help animals and nature through humane education.

The only organization of its kind, seven days a week, The Humane Society of Canada (HSC) works across the street, across Canada and around the world helping people, animals and the environment.

The Humane Society of Canada (HSC) depends entirely on donations to support our programs to help animals and the environment. All donations are gratefully acknowledged with a receipt for income tax purposes. If you would like to support our educational campaigns that protect animals and the environment please make a donation here. Because when it comes to fighting cruelty and violence, we don’t give up. Ever.