Most of us are probably already aware of the risks posed by hot weather, but did you know that cold weather also poses serious threats to your dogs' health? Snow, sleet, ice, wind… these are just some of the things to prepare for when it comes to winter weather. Just like we're affected by the cold, our dogs are, too. Here are a few tips to keep your pups safe this Winter:
- Protect your dog's paws. Cold weather can be very uncomfortable for our our pups as their paws are exposed to the elements, which leaves them at risk for abrasion and injuries. Consider using booties to protect their feet, especially in snow or slush. Additionally, be sure to wash their paws after walks. City streets are coated with deicing substances, such as sodium chloride (rock salt) and calcium chloride, which can damage paw pads!
- Bundle them up. While dogs have their own coat, its important to realize that their fur is often not enough to keep them warm in cold temperatures. Its even more important to bundle up small, delicate, and short-haired dogs, even large ones like Greyhounds!
- Limit time outside. Dogs can experience frost bite, especially on delicate areas like earflaps and tails. Be sure to limit time outside, particularly during periods of extreme cold. If it’s not possible to keep the dogs indoors, be aware of the major signs of frostbite, which include skin that appears white or blue. Keep in mind if it’s too cold for you, it’s probably too cold for your pet, so keep your animals inside!
- Be aware of Antifreeze. With cold weather comes the need for things like antifreeze, which can cause kidney failure if even as little as a teaspoon is consumed by a dog. Even if you keep your antifreeze safely tucked away, there is still a danger from residue in the streets. Be alert to the signs that your dog has swallowed some of it, which include drooling, vomiting, seizures, excessive thirst, panting, or lethargy. If you think your dog has ingested antifreeze, it’s important to get to a vet as soon as possible.
- Feed well and keep hydrated. Dogs can burn extra energy by trying to stay warm in wintertime. Don't be afraid to feed your pup a little bit more during the cold weather months to provide some much-needed calories. Its also important to make sure they are drinking plenty of water to help keep them hydrated and prevent dry or flaky skin.