New rules for Ontario’s outdoor dogs, including guardian animals, in force July 1

A girl and her livestock guardian animal. (Lyndsey Smith/RealAgriculture)

If your dog is outside, unattended for more than 60 minutes at a time, the province of Ontario considers your dog one that lives outside.

That matters because as of July 1 there are new rules regarding the care of dogs that live outside. The new rules, under the PAWS Act, include requirements for housing, freedom of movement, protection from the elements, and more.

For farms and especially for those that have livestock guardian dogs, there are some key points to consider in meeting the requirements of the PAWS Act.

It’s important to note, that where there are barns suitable to house livestock, dogs do not need to be provided with a dog house — the barn doubles as such — and working livestock guardian dogs are not required to have access to a dog house, either.

Ontario Sheep Farmers advocated for some of these changes and exemptions for livestock guardian dogs. The producer group has also been working on ensuring that producers are aware of changes in the laws and their responsibilities in caring for outdoor dogs. See below for a recent webinar on the topic.