With the winter weather upon us, you might find new hazards for your dog that you hadn’t thought of before. Winter is a difficult time for people. It can also be a difficult time for your dog.
That’s why we’ve put together this list of cold safety tips for dogs. This list can at least get you thinking about how to best protect your dog this winter.
Move Around Furniture
With cold weather upon us, you might be kicking your heat up a little more. You may also have some drafts in your home. Badly insulated doors or windows can let cold drafts into your home. Likewise, poorly insulated walls make some rooms much colder than others. If this describes your home at all, you might consider moving around your dog’s furniture. If their favorite napping spot is in a cold room, bring their pillow or bed out to a room that is warmer. You’ll want to make sure they are comfortable even if they are staying indoors.
Think About Your Dog’s Medical History
Winter is a time when many people feel their joints stiffen up. Moving can be uncomfortable or downright painful. If your dog has a long medical history, the cold weather might be making them feel the same way too.
As cold weather moves in, be sure to take care of your dog. Watch them as they get up and move around the home. If they look like they are in pain, contact your vet. They may offer some advice to make them feel better, or they may tell you to fill a prescription to help manage your dog’s pain.
Keep Your Dog’s Nails & Paw Hair Trimmed
While your dog is out hitting the icy trails, you should make sure you keep their nails trimmed. Running on ice can risk damaging their nails. Not only that, but some dogs grow an excessive amount of hair between their toes and the pads of their feet. Normally, this wouldn’t be a problem and is overall a cosmetic issue.
This longer hair can get covered with snow and turn to ice when your dog walks outdoors though. If your dog’s paws are covered in ice, they obviously are going to be uncomfortable and at worst they could develop frostbite.
Wipe Your Dog’s Feet
During COVID, many people developed the habit of wiping their dog’s paws after walks. This is a great habit to continue during the winter months. Walking around outdoors can get your dog into a lot of dangerous things. Antifreeze, motor oil or even salt can cause skin problems. An even better option is to limit your dog’s contact with the substances by getting them some booties to protect their paws.
Don’t Leave Your Dog In A Car Alone
Most people know that it’s hazardous to leave your dog in a hot car during the summer. It’s equally dangerous to leave your dog in a car during the winter. Even if you’ve warmed the car up to a comfortable temperature, your car will lose heat very quickly if the heat is off. Leaving your dog in a car while you run errands can be putting them in a dangerous situation.
Watch For Antifreeze
If you end up spilling any antifreeze in your garage, be sure to pick it up very quickly. Likewise, make sure to avoid any kind of spills in parking lots. As little as a teaspoon of antifreeze can mean big trouble for a dog. The danger as well is that antifreeze tastes sweet. Most animals would love to try some antifreeze. If your pet does consume some, be on the lookout for these symptoms:
- Excessive drooling
- Excessive panting
- Excessive thirst
- An inebriated appearance
If your dog does exhibit any of these symptoms, call your vet immediately.
Always Provide Shelter For Your Dog
When the weather gets very cold, you should not be leaving your dog out for extended periods of time. Even when you do send your dog outside to do their business, be sure to bring them in immediately.
Many people think that because dogs are covered in fur that they are somehow protected from the cold. Yes, their fur does provide a little insulation, but dogs are not impervious to the cold. If your dog is going to have extended access to the outdoors, make sure you offer them shelter. They should have access to a safe heater and plenty of fresh, warmed water as well.