An extreme cold weather alert has been issued for Toronto today. Freezing windchill values of  -17°C are in the forecast, along with heavy snowfall. In the midst of the extreme cold weather alert, the City of Toronto announced their 24-hour pet warming centres on Wednesday, so that even the city's pets can get relief from the bitter cold.

READ ALSO: Extreme Cold Weather Alert Issued As Heavy Snowfall Picks Up In Toronto

Today's bone-chilling temperatures can put individuals at risk of frostbite, which prompted Toronto's Medical Officer of Health's extreme cold weather alert today. These temperatures can be tough for pets to face, and can be harmful to their health and wellbeing. 

READ ALSO: Over 6,000 Ontario Students Will Be Suspended From School Because They Are Not Vaccinated

Fortunately, the City of Toronto has taken measures to help protect animals from the cold and improve general animal welfare in the city. City officials made the announcement on their Twitter page today. They shared that there were specific spaces for pets in the warming centres that are located across the city. 

Check out the tweet from the City of Toronto below. 

There are ten 24/7 warming centre locations across Toronto, according to the city's official website. They are open 24 hours, seven days a week. The facilities offer services to help with the cold weather,  such as cots or mats, meals, and service referrals in a safe indoor space.

According to City of Toronto city on their website, warming centres provide "immediate safe indoor space for people during extreme cold weather alerts".

The City of Toronto also warned locals today via Twitter to check under their car hoods on extremely cold days like today. They said that cats may try to avoid the cold weather by hiding under vehicle hoods, and are telling Torontonians to knock on their car hoods before driving.

The City of Toronto has already released winter care tips for pets, such as dogs. There are over 230,000 pet dogs in the city, according to officials. Their "number one tip" is the following: "if it’s too cold for you, it’s too cold for your pet, so keep your animals inside during extremely cold days." So make sure to try to keep your pet indoors today as much as possible in the midst of the bitterly cold weather. 

They also advise Torontonians to do the following to take care of pets during winter:

  • "Remember never to shave your dog down to the skin in winter—longer coats provide more warmth. If your dog is short-haired, think about getting a warm sweater or coat that covers from tail to belly.
  • Before going outside, consider putting booties on your dog to protect paws from salt and chemicals. Or try massaging a protectant into paw pads, and bring a towel on long walks to clean off any irritated paws.
  • After walks, wash and dry your dog’s feet and stomach to remove ice, salt and chemicals, and check for cracks in paw pads or redness between the toes.
  • Bathe your pets as little as possible during cold spells. Washing too often can give them dry, flaky skin.
  • Pets burn extra energy by trying to stay warm. Talk to your vet about feeding your dog a little more during the cold weather months.
  • Remember that antifreeze is a lethal poison for your pet. When possible, consider using products that contain propylene glycol rather than ethylene glycol. Always clean up any spills from your vehicle.
  • Make sure your pet has a warm place to sleep, off the floor and away from all drafts."

To learn more about taking care of your pet during the brutal winter conditions, you can visit the City of Toronto's official website

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The extreme cold weather and heavy snowfall in Toronto are expected to last for the day. Fortunately, tomorrow and Friday's forecast look much nicer. According to The Weather Network, temperatures tomorrow on Thursday, February 28th will feel like -10°C and on Friday, - 2°C – which is still cold, but much warmer than today's -17°C, so we'll take what we can get. 

You can find out more about Toronto's 24-hour warming centres on the city's official website

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