How to keep your dog safe in winter – helpful tips
It’s that time of year when the temperature drops, and the heating gets turned on. Whilst wintertime can be lots of fun with snowball fights and dark nights, there are plenty of hazards that come with it, especially for our dogs. Make sure you are prepared so that your dog stays happy, warm and safe during the colder months.
Keep the fur trimmed around your dog’s paws to help prevent ice-balls from forming. These can get stuck between the pad and toes and be really painful. Pads can also crack when it is cold and icy underfoot. If you walk on salted pavements, make sure you wash your dog’s paws when you get in as this can also be an irritant. Use our Nose & Paw Balm to help soothe and soften sore spots. This gentle lavender and peppermint product is safe even if your dog decides to lick it.
Don’t leave your dog outside for prolonged periods. Most aren’t used to the extreme cold and will develop hypothermia or frostbite. The same goes for leaving your dog in the car. Freezing temperatures could lead to horrible consequences within a short space of time. Frostbite can be difficult to spot but initially, the skin will look pale and possibly cold and hard. Your dog’s body will compensate by allowing blood to flow to the problem area so look out for cold ears, paws, nose and tail. If your dog is starting to suffer with hypothermia, they might be shivering and have cold ears and feet. As their condition worsens they might become lethargic and weak. Be vigilant as your dog cannot tell you how they feel. If you suspect frostbite or hypothermia, contact your vet immediately.
We explained a little while ago about the benefits of a winter coat for your dogs. Go back and take a read of our recommendations here. Short haired dogs especially, can struggle with the cold and so a cosy extra layer will help make their winter walkies far more enjoyable.
When you are out walking, make sure both you and your dog wear bright reflective clothing. The Ancol Flashing Dog Band Collar is the perfect solution to dark, winter walks for your dog. This USB charged flashing band simply fits around your dog’s neck as an extra safety measure in low light. It is super bright and will be seen from up to 500m away. Similarly, the Beacon Dog Safety Light from Ruffwear is a great way to give maximum visibility when walking. The Beacon is visible from all directions with a bright, full-body glow design.
Try not to let your dog off their lead during snow or ice as they can easily lose their scent and become lost. If you walk your dog near a river or canal, do not let them walk on the ice or frozen water. You will not know how deep the water underneath is and the ice could easily break and plunge your dog in to ice cold water that they may not be able to get back out of.
Watch out for antifreeze which is highly poisonous. As it is sweet in taste, your dog will lap it up if they come across any and the consequences could be devastating, even in small quantities. Be vigilant if your dog is roaming around freely and keep all containers and rags out of reach. Clean up any spills immediately.
If your dog is less active in the winter months (let’s face it, like most of us are), don’t forget to cut back their food a little to compensate for the decreased activity.
Older dogs and young puppies will be particularly vulnerable throughout winter. Make sure their bed is in a draft-free spot with a cosy blanket for extra snuggle warmth.
Stay safe and warm this winter.
Laura, Dolly & Reggie xxx