HomeWorldBC weather: Tips for protecting animals in the cold IG News

BC weather: Tips for protecting animals in the cold IG News


With much of the province under an extreme cold warning and even the normally temperate south coast experiencing wind chills of -20C and below, BC animal organizations are sharing tips on how people can help wild and domestic animals cope with cold.

The BC Wildlife Rescue says it usually takes in more birds — especially Anna’s hummingbirds, various thrushes and songbirds — during periods of extreme cold.

In a news release, the association says birds are “naturally equipped to handle cold weather,” but people can still help backyard wildlife by providing water, shelter and food.

The WRA says melting or breaking up the ice on backyard ponds or providing a shallow bowl of water can ensure birds still have access to fresh water.

Similarly, leaving fallen leaves and other plant material undisturbed over winter can provide birds with a place to forage for seeds and bugs in cold weather.

The association says the most common reasons birds land in WRA care during cold snaps are window crashes and low blood sugar.

“For hummingbird keepers, keeping feeders defrosted and clean during cold weather is extremely important to prevent injury and the spread of disease,” says Jackie McQuillan, the association’s support center manager, in a release.

Cold weather can also have a negative effect on pets, says Jodi Dunlop, manager of the BC SPCA’s Vancouver branch.

She joined CTV Morning Live on Friday to share some tips for keeping pets safe during the cold.

“We recommend that all animals come in during this cold weather,” Dunlop said. “When you’re out walking your dogs, take them on shorter walks and just more often. Don’t go out for an hour(-long) morning walk when it’s, you know, minus five, because it’s really hard on them.”

Dogs with short, smooth coats can also benefit from a warm dog sweater or coat, she said.

Dunlop said it’s also a good idea to get dogs used to wearing foot coverings, as road salt can damage the pads on their paws. Shorter and more frequent walks also help mitigate this risk for dogs who don’t like wearing boots, she added.

Dunlop also warned pet owners to keep an eye on their animals when they’re out in the cold, especially in places where animals might find antifreeze.

“Antifreeze is very interesting for dogs and cats,” she said. “They will drink it and unfortunately we see animals passing away from antifreeze poisoning.”

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