The winter weather came quickly this year and it won’t be ending for a while. Mother nature is set to produce record breaking temperatures and snowfall, so what does that mean for your dog? Just like us, dogs can become cold enough to develop frost-bite and hypothermia if left out in freezing temperatures for an extended period of time. Just because our dogs have a furry coat doesn’t mean they can withstand more cold than us. Anything below 32 degrees Fahrenheit is too cold for dogs to be left out. So here are 5 important tips to keep your dog safe this winter!
1. Don’t let your dog’s nails get too long
It is a good idea to trim your dog’s nails regularly during the winter months. During the winter, dogs tend to spend more time inside where their paws encounter less friction and their nails are able to grow longer. Overgrown nails can give your dog sore feet, legs and hips - and overall can leave them uncomfortable. Not only that, but long nails can keep ice and snow (or even worse… salt) embedded in your dog’s paws. This can cause their walks to be uncomfortable, cold, and can dry out their paws. The simple way to prevent this is to keep your dog’s nails trimmed and groomed.
2. Protect your dog’s paws from winter ice, snow, and salt
Untrimmed hair is one of the easiest ways for ice to accumulate on your dog’s paws. If your dog’s hair is growing through their paw pads, be sure to trim if off. Snow can also get stuck on their hair and turn to ice rather quickly. There are a plethora of dog products out there to help protect your dog’s paws during the winter. Products such as dog boots and paw protectors can help keep your dog’s paws warm and safe. It’s also a good idea to keep your walking route away from salt and ice melt as much as possible. Salt is laid on the streets and sidewalks to help melt the ice, but it can also dry out your dog’s paw pads rather quickly.
3. Keep your dog away from frozen bodies of water
Your pooch may be a champion fish catcher, but when winter comes around that skill goes out the window. Most lakes and ponds that you pass by while on walks are not frozen over completely and have thin ice. Keep away from rivers and moving water. These might freeze on the top but are still moving underneath, which leaves an extremely thin layer of ice. If your dog falls into freezing water, hypothermia can happen in just a few seconds. There have also been too many incidences where humans have died trying to rescue their dog that has fallen in. Always keep your dog leashed when passing by a body of water. It can help keep both you and your dog safe.
4. Protect your dog from winter poisons
As briefly mentioned earlier, salt and ice melt can cause burning or irritation in your dog's paws and can also dry them out, which causes them to crack. If your dog decides to lick their paws while there is salt on them, it can cause vomiting, diarrhea, and a bunch of other nasty issues. Always clean your dog's paws off as soon as you get home from a walk. Another sneaky poison to watch out for in the winter is antifreeze. It’s well-known for being toxic to dogs because of the ingredient ethylene glycol. It can cause vomiting, loss of appetite, and seizures. If your dog gets into antifreeze or an antifreeze spill, please see your vet as soon as possible.
5. Bathe your dog regularly
Whether you know it or not, your dog's coat can pick up whatever it touches such as salt, antifreeze, poop, and all kinds of bacteria. That’s why it’s a good idea to bathe your dog often during the winter. Heck, even year round! However, it’s now pretty cold outside, so your dog can’t go out into the yard and shake out the water from their bath. Just be sure to spend a little more time drying your dog’s coat afterwards with a towel or even a hair dryer.
If you decide to take your dog out for a walk while it’s snowing, that’s a wet coat waiting to happen! Keep in mind the previous tips and be sure to bundle your pooch up with protective, warm clothing and dry them off with a towel when you get home. Happy walking this winter and we wish you all a very fabulous holiday season! 🎄