Baby, it’s cold outside! As the December winds pick up and snow falls, the temperature keeps dropping. It’s a great time to brush up on your winter safety knowledge for your faithful friend. Even though your furry friend has a thick coat of fur, they are still susceptible to the common injuries or conditions to which we are exposed. Hypothermia and frostbite are true realities of what your canine could fall victim to if proper measures to ensure their safety in harsh weather conditions aren’t taken.
Keep your dog happy this winter with these 5 winter safety tips to ensure a happy and warm winter for your friend!
Limited Outdoor Time
As dog parents, we understand the importance of potty breaks and outdoor exercise. But consider this winter safety advice: your dog not only is in direct contact with snow and cold cement via their paws but their noses and ears are exposed as well. Shorten their walks or their outdoor activities; it’s an easy way to prevent any harm to your pooch. Even if your dog is very active, it is better to do multiple short trips outside than one extensive one. Most dog walking companies, such as Canine Concierge, have winter weather policies in place to keep your dog safe and comfortable.
As mentioned, dogs have the one-up on us in being covered in fur; but not all fur coats are the same. Small breed dogs, puppies and elderly dogs need a little more attention during this time of year. Their fur isn’t as thick and in colder conditions regulating their body temperature could be a little more difficult for them. Luckily, not only is dressing them up fun for us, but also great for them. Make winter safety fashionable! Sweaters, coats and hoodies are a nice way to make them comfortable and help them retain some body heat.
Not only are fur coats different, but so is body mass. We tend to put on a little more weight during the holidays (perhaps for different reasons like too much turkey and cookies), but why not your dog? Introduce more protein and fat into your canine’s diet. It’ll help them bulk up and keep a healthy coat to keep them safer during the winter season.
With snow comes many things such as ice, salt, antifreeze and de-icers, all of which can be harmful and toxic if ingested or exposed to your friend. After every outing, make sure to wipe down your dog’s paws. Check for cracks, bleeding or sores that could be caused by the ice on the ground. An added winter safety tip: trim the hair in between their toes to eliminate snow buildup.
Who said a safe winter was only limited to outdoor conditions? Making sure your house is a safe environment for your pet is just as important as their time outdoors. Use caution when introducing space heaters, chimneys and heated blankets and pet mats. Dogs can easily burn themselves on a heater or open fire or possibly even start a fire if they accidentally tip over a space heater. If you have a heated blanket or mat for your pet, make sure to check it regularly as it can burn your friend’s skin. Traditional blankets and dog beds are a safe route and will the do the job just as well.
Outside of knowing what you can do to help your dog have a safe winter, it is also important to know what warning signs to look for. Being on the lookout for symptoms of hypothermia and frostbite can make all the difference for your pooch. Pay notice to any whining or changes in behavior, if your animal slows down or just stops moving all together and exhibits uncontrollable body movements such as shivering or weakness. Remember that the symptoms of frostbite can take longer to appear than those of hypothermia. Check daily for pale areas or unusual pain.
As they say “It’s the most wonderful time of the year” so take these extra winter safety precautions to make sure you give your furry friend a wonderful AND safe time of the year!
Have more ideas for a fun, safe winter? Suggestions, thoughts and comments welcomed below!