Top Tips for Keeping Your Dog Safe During Winter Weather

Top Tips for Keeping Your Dog Safe During Winter Weather

Photo via Pixabay by Skybluesrich

For many pet owners, their dogs are like family members. These loyal, funny, sweet animals are such wonderful companions that it can be difficult to imagine what life was like before them.

Much like children, it’s important to make sure your pets are safe at all times when they’re outside — whether it’s from heat exhaustion or extreme cold — and there are several things to take into consideration. In winter, dogs face many dangers from the elements that require our intervention, and not just because of the cold; slippery conditions, diet and exercise, and exposure to things such as antifreeze and holiday candy can all be harmful to dogs.

Fortunately, there are several ways you can make sure your pet is safe once winter rolls around; it just takes a bit of preparation. Thinking ahead will help give you peace of mind and keep your dog happy and healthy no matter how bad the weather gets.

Here are a few tips on how to get started.

Put away those human treats

We tend to have more treats lying around during cold months, from trick-or-treat scores to Christmas candy to Valentine’s chocolates. All of these can be dangerous or even deadly to dogs, so put them up out of reach and make sure you talk to your family members about leaving sweets away from where your dog can get to them.

Clean his paws

Winter can be harsh on a pet’s paws; snow, ice, salt or brine, and antifreeze are just a few of the things they can pick up on their sensitive foot pads. After every walk, use a warm, wet washcloth to wipe your dog’s paws off, this will help keep his pads safe and avoid him accidentally ingesting chemicals.

Be careful on walks

Icy sidewalks and extreme temperatures can turn a call of nature into a dangerous accident, so take care when your dog is outside, even if it’s only for a few minutes. Try to stick to shoveled paths, and if your area has seen temps drop below freezing, consider investing in boots or wraps for your dog’s paws that will keep him safe and warm. This is especially important for older dogs, who might also appreciate having a thick bed or warmer blanket to sleep on at home. For more on caring for elderly dogs in winter, read on here.

Watch his diet

Some dogs need more protein during winter months to keep up their energy when the temperatures drop; talk to your vet to see if any changes need to be made to your dog’s diet. If he isn’t getting as much exercise because of the weather, you may need to think about creating an indoor play area where he can run an obstacle course or fetch a ball.

Let his hair grow

Never shave your dog during winter months, as not only will that leave them exposed to the elements, but it can also lead to dry, flaky skin, itching, and discomfort. If he has long hair, you can trim it to ensure it doesn’t become tangled; dry him off after every trip outside in the snow, paying special attention to his paws. For more winter weather tips, check out ASPCA.org.

Winter can be a fun time for pets, especially if your dog loves to play in the snow. Taking some precautions will ensure that he can have a good time while staying safe, so plan ahead and talk to your family members to make sure everyone is on the same page.

 

Janice Miller