As the weather continues to transition from fall to winter, the importance of adequately protecting your dogs from low-temperature conditions continues to rise. The trainers and staff at Dog Sense feel they must keep the dogs safe that stay at our boarding kennel and educate all dog owners on proper dog safety.
While many people already know about keeping their dog safe in cold weather, sometimes a refresher can help hammer some safety tips home.
Be Aware of Walking Hazards
Dogs can have several common hazards on walks in cold weather conditions that people may often overlook. Far too often, owners allow their dogs to wander onto a frozen body of water, only to have the ice be thin and fall into the below-freezing water, putting the dog and anyone needed to rescue the dog at immediate risk. Avoiding frozen water removes this unnecessary risk altogether.
Anyone who has seen a picture of a sled dog has likely noticed that these dogs wear boots on their paws to protect them from snow and ice. However, many people overlook the necessity of winter boots for their dogs.
Dogs can cut their feet on shards of ice if you are not careful and get their paw pads proper protection. Owners should also be aware of the length of their dog’s fur on the bottom of their paws to prevent balls of ice from forming.
Know the Warning Signs of Frostbite
The majority of people are aware of the dangers of frostbite and hypothermia and hypothermia in humans, but this can often be overlooked in dogs. As dog owners, we owe it to our furry companions to know the warning signs of hypothermia.
Those signs being:
Appearing tired and/or lethargic
Pale or bluish gums
Trouble walking and/or breathing
Loss of consciousness
If you suspect your dog may be affected by hypothermia, get them to warmth immediately and take them to a local veterinarian.
Properly Clothe Your Pup
While some people may scoff at dog owners who play dress-up with their dog, getting proper winter clothing to protect your dog is necessary for some breeds. Unless you have a dog bred to endure cold-weather conditions, you should look into adequately clothing your dog.
Even if your dog is just going outside to use the bathroom, they are still at risk of hypothermia, depending on their tolerance to cold-weather. For short-haired and hairless breeds, owners should look into buying a sweater for their dog, especially if they will be commonly going on walks in the cold.
Know What Common Winter Toxins Exist
The winter holiday season is one of the most joyous times of the year, but, unfortunately, bring out several things that can be potentially deadly for a dog. Antifreeze is commonly used in the winter (for obvious reasons); however, many people do not know that antifreeze can be toxic to dogs.
Antifreeze also has a sweet flavor to it, so if a dog tastes it, they will continue to consume it. Salt is another potentially deadly toxin to dogs that are commonly used in the winter. If a dog starts to eat salt off the ground, it could be potentially fatal.
Typical winter baked goods may also be fatal to dogs if they are made with any of the following common ingredients:
-peanut butter that contains xylitol
It is essential to take your dog to the vet if it consumes any of these toxins.
Do Not Leave Your Dog in a Car
While most people are aware of the dangers of leaving a dog in a hot car, many people overlook the safety concerns of leaving your dog in a vehicle when it is cold outside. A dog can still be at risk of hypothermia and frostbite while it is in a vehicle, which people commonly ignore.
If you see a dog that is locked in a vehicle that is not running, and the temperatures are cold outside, it should be treated with the same regard as if it was in the heat of summer.