Winter Safety for Dogs by Rebecca, RVT

BRRRRR- it’s COLD out there!

The snow is falling, Jack Frost is nibbling at your nose and the winter gear is out. While you are enjoying the winter activities, keep in mind the safety of our four legged family members. Inside or outside there are winter threats to our dogs. When a severe winter storm or extreme cold alert is recommending that humans stay indoors- then you should bring in your dog. Here are some more tips to ensure that you & your dog have a safe and healthy winter season:

  • Chemicals such as ice melts, salts, antifreeze and windshield wiper fluid can be toxic to your dog. These products can cause kidney failure or even death. Always store all toxic products in a safe place- up and away from dogs. If you know or suspect your dog has ingested any of these bring them in or call us immediately
  • We need to give our outside dogs extra attention. Having a dog house that is up off the ground and is insulated keeps them warm. Even using straw works as a great insulator. It’s our job as owners to protect them from wind, sleet, snow and cold. Our dogs like us are susceptible to frostbite and hypothermia
  • Make sure they always have fresh unfrozen water
  • Our older and sick dogs should be inside whenever possible. Even in a garage up off the cold cement floor will protect them. Old blankets come in handy in these situations
  • Your dog’s arthritis can be exacerbated by cold weather. Talk to your Veterinarian about Medications, Treatment options and ways to keep your arthritic dog comfy over the winter season
  • Going for walks and playing in the snow with our dogs can be a great winter family activity, but be aware of dangers that are covered in the snow. Playing near frozen lakes, river or ponds can be extremely dangerous. Your dog could slip or jump in and get seriously injured.
  • After each walk give your dog’s feet a good wipe/wash
  • For our outdoor dogs feed additional calories. It takes more energy in the winter to keep body temperature regulated
  • Don’t leave your dog alone in a car without proper precautions. When the engine is left on – carbon monoxide can endanger your dog’s life and if the engine is off the temperature in the car will get to cold.
  • If you have a dog with short hair or a little dog they will benefit from added warmth. Jackets are great when going outside. Make sure the jacket fits snugly but it doesn’t restrict movement

Winter is a great time of year! It can also be a dangerous time. With a few sensible precautions, you and your dog can have a safe & happy winter season!