Winter Hazards For Dogs
The winter months present many hazards for dogs and their owners. It’s important to be aware of the dangers that the cold weather and change of environment brings. There are some more obvious hazards, and others that some dog owners might not be aware of. Here are some winter hazards all dog owners should look for.
Most dogs enjoy playing in the snow. However, it’s important that when they do, they do not play in deep snow and are monitored at all times. Some things can be concealed under the snow that could cause injury to your dog, such as sharp objects. Avoid deep untouched snow as you don’t know what might be underneath it.
2. The cold
Most dogs with thick coats can handle the cold weather for a short period of time, but there are many breeds not made for cold weather. For example, breeds such as Greyhounds and Whippets don’t struggle to retain body heat due to their short coats and slender frame. Elderly dogs and also very young pups can really struggle in the winter.
All dogs should own a dog coat for the harsh weather. Coats not only keep them warm but they also help to stop them from getting too wet and dirty. Even dogs with thick hair will be affected by the cold weather if outdoors for a long time. The cold weather can cause your dog to catch a chill, and in extreme cases hypothermia or frostbite. Make sure your dog stays warm enough during the colder winter months.
3. Dark evenings
When winter comes it gets dark quicker in the evenings. It’s important to take precautions and extreme care if you have to walk your dog in the dark. If you walk your dog in the evening keep them on a lead and get a high vis jacket and glow in the dark collar for them to wear, so that they can easily be seen.
Ice can present all sorts of challenges in the winter. The biggest risk it poses to dogs and their owners is being slippery. Take care when walking out on frosty days and avoid walking in icy areas. The last thing you want to do is fall over and injure yourself. Your dog could also fall over and hurt themselves.
Ponds, lakes and rivers can also be very dangerous. Stay away from any frozen water and check your route before you set off. Your dog could run onto the ice and if it cracks they could fall in and get trapped in the freezing water.
5. Salt and grit
This can irritate your dog’s paws and it’s very harmful if ingested. After walking your dog always clean their paws to get rid of any salt and grit in case they try and lick it off.
De-icer is very poisonous for dogs, who are attracted to its sweet taste. A lot of people use it in the winter months. It can mix with the snow and ice while it melts so do not let your dog eat or lick any snow.
7. Cracked paws
Often dogs’ paws get very cracked and sore in the cold weather. You can use a paw protecting product on their paws that acts as a barrier or buy some dog boots which are used especially for snow.
8. Kennel cough, chest infections
Older dogs can be affected by chest injections in winter months, much like elderly people the cold can affect them and make them more vulnerable to infections. Make sure your dog is up to date with their vaccinations and keep them warm this winter.