10 Ways To Keep Your Dog Safe This Winter

How is caring for your dog in winter different from caring for your pet during the rest of the year? Obviously, the cold winter air presents challenges, but there are additional concerns pet owners need to be aware of.

    1. Keep your dog warm. Dogs may love to play in the snow, but some, especially those with lightweight or short coats, can be susceptible to hypothermia. Puppies, older dogs and dogs with conditions like thyroid disease or arthritis can be particularly vulnerable to the cold. Keep in mind that wind chill and dampness can make a gray day feel even colder—even for your dog. On cold days, make sure your dog’s visits outside are short and that during those trips, he’s protected from the elements with a coat and boots.

 

    1. Keep bedding cozy. Provide extra bedding and make sure it’s dry. When a dog comes in from playing in the snow, she may lie down on her bed, making it damp. Later, it can remain damp, giving your dog a chill. Check the bedding and change it if it is damp to ensure your dog’s bed is a welcoming place.

 

    1. Protect your dog’s paws. A dog’s paws can be sensitive, and dog walking through snow and slush can be uncomfortable enough. Add the irritants left on the sidewalks and streets from salt and other ice melting chemicals and your pet could develop sore and irritated tootsies. Check your dog’s paws for cracks or signs of irritation and use boots for warmth and protection.

 

    1. Protect your dog from burns. Dogs seeking warmth can inadvertently get too close to heat sources, including space heaters and fireplaces. Create a pet-proof safety barrier to keep your pet from getting to close to the heat.

 

    1. Don’t leave your dog in the car alone in winter. Pet lovers have heard countless tragic stories of dogs left in cars during the summer. Leaving dogs unattended in cars in winter can be tragic too. The temperature inside a car can dip rapidly and dogs have no way of keeping warm.

 

    1. Keep food and water accessible. Some dogs have to stay outside most of the day, even in winter. A guard dog or a farm dog for instance, needs to be outside. Make sure his food and water do not freeze. Working dogs may need more calories during winter than the majority of dogs—who are typically less active in colder months. (Talk with your veterinarian to make sure your working dog receives the right amount of nutrition.)

 

    1. Make sure your dog stays hydrated. We think of hydration as important in summer, but it’s also essential in winter. Although dogs may like to eat snow, it does not supply the same amount of hydration as water.

 

    1. Avoid antifreeze and other chemicals. With its sweet taste, antifreeze tempts dogs, but ingesting even a little can be deadly. Keep your dog away from driveways and other areas where he can discover this toxin.

 

    1. Watch for piles of snow. It may be fun to play in piles of snow, but know that some piles can harmful. Snow piled near fences establishes an escape route. Snow piled on the roof can be dangerous to anyone (or any dog) on the ground if the snow tumbles down, and snowdrifts can trap smaller dogs.

 

    1. Be sure your dog is well trained. While this is true any time of the year, a well-disciplined dog will heed your warnings to avoid dangers such as snow piles or toxic chemicals. With more dogs lost during winter, making sure your dog is trained to stay nearby increases his safety.

 

By knowing these cold weather tips, you can help your dog enjoy a winter wonderland, while keeping him healthy and safe.

By |2019-01-23T08:39:09-05:00November 25th, 2015|Seasonal News|