Cut the cord on tethering 

The Ontario SPCA encourages pet owners to limit the amount of time a dog is tethered and to ensure your dog can move safely and unrestricted, allowing appropriate, food, water, shelter and shade.

While it is not against the law for dogs to live outdoors, the Ontario SPCA strongly recommends bringing your dog indoors and wants to remind the public that provincial animal welfare legislation requires that animals receive adequate care.

Animal welfare encompasses both the physical and mental health of an animal. As caretakers, pet owners must consider the overall well-being of their animal when making decisions about their care.

Pet owners are encouraged to observe the “Five Freedoms” to ensure the mental and physical needs of the animals in our care are met.

The “Five Freedoms” include:

  • Freedom from hunger and thirst by ready access to fresh water and diet to maintain health and vigor.
  • Freedom from pain, injury, or disease by prevention or rapid diagnosis and treatment.
  • Freedom from distress by ensuring conditions and treatment which avoid mental suffering.
  • Freedom from discomfort by providing an appropriate environment including shelter and a comfortable resting area.
  • Freedom to express behaviours that promote well being by providing sufficient space, proper facilities, and company of the animal's own kind. Embracing the Five Freedoms supports the health and welfare of the animals in our care and provides adopters with the best possible insight into their personalities. That ultimately leads to more animals successfully placed in loving homes. 


Change Begins With You

Fit to be tied about tethering? Here’s what you can do to help keep Ontario’s pets safe:

    1.  Ensure your own pet’s needs are being met

Some breeds of dogs are suited for winter weather and enjoy being outdoors for longer periods. However, any dog that spends time outside needs to be provided with an insulated doghouse of the proper dimensions. For instructions on how to build the perfect housing for your outdoor dog, see our Ideal Doghouse brochure.

Additional considerations include:

  • Dogs with short coats are prone to frostbite and cannot endure cold temperatures very easily.
  • Aged, young or infirm dogs should not be outdoors for extended periods, especially during cold weather.
  • Dogs should be acclimatized to the outdoors when they are young and the weather is warm.
  • During severe weather, dogs should be brought inside to ensure their safety and well being.
  • All dogs require appropriate opportunity to exhibit natural behaviour and exercise. Tethering should be limited when at all possible to ensure their welfare.

     2.  Spread the word on social media

Please encourage your friends, family and coworkers to share this important message on social media using the hashtag #winterpetsafety

     3.  Contact your local municipality

Request your municipal council to enact a tethering bylaw to protect animals in your community who can’t speak for themselves.

Find your local municipality





Coming 2019!

For more information about the AnimalSmart™ Humane Education Program, please email


AnimalSmart™ Primary - Grades 1 -3:  A research-based, anti-bullying, empathy-building learning resource dedicated to educating young children in the knowledge and understanding needed for respectful animal care.The Ontario SPCA AnimalSmart™ lesson plans support children and their families in developing and maintaining positive relationships with pets by:

  • helping children to develop the knowledge, understanding, attitudes and skills they need to become responsible, living caregivers
  • fostering positive relationships with pets to enhance children’s social and emotional growth and development promoting the fair and humane treatment of pets
  • highlighting the importance of safety and the prevention of pet related injuries to young children
  • meeting grade-level curriculum expectations from the Ontario Ministry of Education

Lesson plans are organized around four interrelated Strands which provide a comprehensive and integrated foundation for teaching and learning. Primary Strand and Lesson Titles

  Students engage in active learning as they take on the challenges of:

  • conducting investigations
  • examining perspectives
  • interviewing experts
  • classifying and categorizing information
  •  formulating guiding questions
  • gathering and organizing data
  • drawing conclusions and making judgments
  • sharing their thinking and their learning


 Choose with Care  Exploring Feelings  T.R.U.S.T.  Be Prepared
 Know and Do  Friends Forever  Safe Spaces  Watch and Listen
 Take a Guess  Thinking it Through  Depend on Us  Safety First
 Summative Task:
Caring for Your Pet
Summative Task:
All About My Pet
 Summative Task:
Pet Owner Interview
Summative Task:
Write All About It!
Pet Safety




Download a copy of the Primary Lesson Plans.  Please sign up below to receive a PDF version.







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Coming Soon

 For more information about the AnimalSmart™ Humane Education Program, please email

SPCAs and Humane Societies across Canada encourage pet owners that if you’ve ‘Got a Pet? Get a Vet!™’.

It`s important to establish a relationship with a veterinarian when you get a pet. Just one veterinary check-up a year will help protect against a variety of potentially life-threatening diseases, detect health problems sooner, and avoid unexpected costs.

Don`t wait until something goes wrong to take your pet in for a check-up. Schedule a visit with your local veterinarian to ensure a longer, healthier life for your pet(s).

Veterinarians provide many services such as:

  • Early Disease Detection
  • Spaying & Neutering
  • Regular Vaccinations
  • Flea, Tick and Parasite Prevention
  • Prevention of Dental Disease
  • Nutritional Counselling
  • Addressing Behavioural Concerns
  • Pet Identification
  • And so much more!