The winter can be a very hard time for your pet, especially if they are small or have a short coat. Strong winds, snow, ice, and freezing temperatures can lead to serious issues for your dog. Here are 5 ways to keep your dog safe this winter:
1. Foot care: This might seem strange, but your dog's feet can take a beating in the winter. The ground is cold and there is often ice, snow, and rock-salt covering the sidewalk and streets. Keep your dog’s foot fuzz trimmed, especially on the bottom of their feet to avoid any ice balls from forming in between their pads and toes. Always wipe your dog’s feet off after a walk with a damp towel to wash away any rock salt, which they can then lick and irritate their mouth. If your dog will wear booties, it is a good idea to put them on during walks in the cold months. Walking on ice or snow can cause painful abrasions, so any paw protectors or booties can help keep these at bay. In addition, purchase a doggy moisturizer as their feet can get quite dry and cracked this time of year.
2. Keep walks short: Keeping your walk short is important, especially in the severe cold. Dogs, especially small ones, can suffer from frostbite (especially on delicate areas such as ear flaps and tail tips). Make sure your dog’s skin is not white or blue, which could be a sign on frostbite. Make sure to put a sweater or coat on your dog before a walk to keep them warm.
3. Watch for Antifreeze: Antifreeze, which is used to regulate car engines during extreme temperatures, is super toxic to dogs and as little as a teaspoon can cause kidney failure! Unfortunately, it is commonly used during colder months and the sweet taste makes it attractive to animals. If you think your dog has ingested antifreeze, immediately take them to a vet. Watch out for any signs of ingestion, including but not limited to, vomiting, seizures, or drooling. Antifreeze is usually green, but can come in many colors. Always watch where your dog is sniffing while on walks.
4. Stay active INSIDE: Since walks and outdoor time is much shorter during the winter, make sure to keep your dog active and entertained inside with games such as a doggy scavenger hunt with treats or some good old fashioned tug of war.
5. Avoid ponds or thin ice: A dog falling into icy water can very quickly turn into a tragedy. Make sure to keep your dog away from any bodies of water, even if they are iced over, to avoid accidents. It is NEVER safe to walk on an iced-over pond or lake. Even falling in for a second can cause injuries such as muscle strain, frostbite, or hypothermia.
Keep your furry friend safe, healthy, and inside during the winter. We suggest cuddling up with a cozy blanket and some pet-safe goodies, and calling it a night.