Creature Feature: Cold Weather Means Hard Times for Pets and Strays

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It might be nearing the end of January, but living in Canada everyone knows that the cold weather is due to last for another few months. The cold is inconvenient, especially to UNBSJ students forced to park in Narnia at the far reaches of the parking lot, but plummeting temperatures pose a larger problem for pets and stray animals.

Frostbite, hypothermia, and even death threaten the well-being of animals who spend any amount of time outdoors, whether they be a family pet tied outside, an abandoned animal, or a stray. Organizations like the Saint John SPCA do their best to help out these animals, but sometimes it is too late.

In the last year, there have been multiple accounts of dogs being left tethered outside in the cold, snowy weather. Luckily, the NBSPCA has pushed forward on the new dog tethering law, which states that, “Owners are not allowed to leave their dogs chained up outside overnight between 11p.m. and 6a.m. and now anyone caught doing so could be charged instead of receiving a warning.”

This winter, please keep an eye on your dogs and outdoor cats, as well as the stray animals in your neighbourhood.

Keep in mind that a doghouse does not provide enough warmth from the cold at night, and leaving pets outside for extended periods of time can lead to frostbite and hypothermia.

A photo from the New Brunswick SPCA Facebook page, showing a cat that has lost the tips of its ears to frostbite
A photo from the New Brunswick SPCA Facebook page, showing a cat that has lost the tips of its ears to frostbite


A basic Google search can provide ideas on easy DIY shelters for neighbourhood strays and insulated doghouses, which, in some cases, can save the lives of feral or abandoned animals. If there is a stray cat or dog in your area, taking the animal in, bringing it to a shelter, or calling the NBSPCA are all options that will ensure the survival of the

If you notice an animal left outside on its own, tethered to a leash, or suffering from temperature-related illness, please call the NBSPCA at 1-877-722-1522 with the address or location of the distressed animal.

The NBSPCA encourages reports, as “The New Brunswick SPCA is complaint driven and they encourage anyone who sees a dog left outside overnight to call them directly and not the police” (2015).

The organization is able to help the animal quickly and effectively, ensuring that a sick pet can get the help it needs as soon as possible.

A helpful tip for exercising and walking dogs in the winter is purchasing winter booties and/or sweaters for dogs with shorter fur. It might look silly, but it will protect their feet from the ice and snow, and most importantly they will keep their bodies warm. When we are cold, so are they, and like us their ears and extremities are often the first to be affected by frostbite.

The Baron has extended our Furry Food Drive campaign, and will be collecting cat and dog food for the SPCA for the rest of the Spring Term. If you would like to donate, please feel free to stop by The Baron—we will have a basket near the door for food donations—or feel free to contact Editor-in-Chief Jenna Albert at All cash donations should be made directly to the Saint John SPCA, which can be done online on their website or by phone.

Check out the Saint John SPCA website and facebook page at the following links:,

For more information on the NBSPCA, go to their website at

Emily is in her fourth year of Political Science. She loves studying and academics which follows into her research work. She's a stern black coffee drinker and is a proud Acadienne. When she's not working or doing school work, you can find Emily listening to 70s music on vinyl and watching Parks and Recreation. If you ask her about parliamentary institutions, she won't stop talking.