Winter can bring a lot of fun for our dogs from playing in the snow, to mushing, to skijoring.
However, winter can also bring some cautions and dangers to our beloved pets we need to be aware of to keep them safe.
The first thing we need to be aware of is the outside temperatures. Puppies, older dogs, dogs with health issues, short haired dog and thin dogs are at greater risk of the dangers of cold temperatures.
When the temperatures drop below 32°F, at risk dogs need to be watched closely when outside.
When it gets below 20°F, owners need to be aware that all dogs could be at risk for hypothermia and frostbite.
Watch your dog's behavior. If you see your dog shivering, whining or crying, choosing not to engage in activity/play they were before, acting nervous, slowing down, trying to get to a warm area, or holding up one or more paws, it’s time to head inside. If you do suspect hypothermia or frostbite contact your veterinarian right away.
The next potential danger to be aware of is the salt that is used to melt the ice/slippery areas. Although you may use pet safe salt, where you walk your dog may not. Do not let your dog lick his paws and be sure to wipe your dog's paws with warm water when you return from your walk. Teaching your dog to wear booties by slowly acclimating to them could be very beneficial in protecting their paws.
Another danger are heat sources. Many times dogs will seek out heat sources such as space heaters, registers or wood burning stoves to get warm. They don't realize how hot they can get and can suffer burn injuries. Never leave dogs unattended while space heaters or wood burning stoves are on and use vent covers that direct heat from the vents into the room to help keep them safe.
Provide extra water as the warm, dry air inside and the cold, dry air outside can cause dogs to get dehydrated. Add organic unrefined coconut oil to their food to help keep their skin/fur from drying and keep them brushed to prevent matting which will also help keep your dog warm in the winter months.
The last concern to be aware of is being careful where your dog is walking/playing. If your dog is walking or playing and slips on ice or snow covered ice, they could injure a knee, shoulder, muscle and/or ligament/tendon. These types of injuries could result in long term recovery and/or surgical intervention.
Enjoy the snow and the outdoors with your dog but keep these winter tips in mind for a safe winter season.