With all the snow that is currently falling, we thought it was a good time for a reminder of pet safety tips in all this snow. Snow can be enjoyable for man and beast alike, but it does present some dangers.
You may think that just because dogs have all that hair that they won’t get cold. This is a common misconception, especially for smaller dogs. A good rule of thumb is to keep dogs outside for only as many minutes as compared to their weight. For example, our Miniature Schnauzer, Potter weighs 15 pounds so he should only stay outside about 15 minutes.
Also regarding the cold, although we’re sensitive to dogs and their extreme hatred for doggie clothing most times of year, on a day like today, a sweater or turtleneck would probably be appreciated by your four-legged-pal. It will help him retain his body heat better than without; therefore allowing him to enjoy the snow as much as you do (okay, probably even more).
De-icing salt can be dangerous to dogs as it is toxic if consumed in large quantities. In addition, salt can irritate dog’s skin, paws and eyes. That being said you really have two options. Buy the de-icing salt that is safe for dogs (such as EcoTraction). Or simply try and keep your dog away from areas you have spread ice melt or wash his paws (and any other place the ice melt touched) upon returning inside. A Facebook friend and dog trainer, Nico Kramer was kind enough to remind us of a couple of these tips.
Speaking of toxins, puddles can be carriers of all sorts of them. Traces of antifreeze, windshield washing fluid, ice melt and coolant can be found in puddles, so please, don’t let your dog play in them or drink from them especially during the winter.
Don’t forget to shovel a “potty path” for your dog if you have a fenced in yard. Or if you’re taking them for walks to relieve themselves only walk as long as your dog wants to. Upon their return inside, check them for ice or clumps of snow and remove them gently. This will help to prevent frostbite and wiping them down removes de-icing salt and possible toxins mentioned above.
Frostbite can be identified in dogs as skin turning red, gray or white. If suspected, take your dog to a warm area and apply damp, warm cloths until the area appears flushed. Then call your vet for further instructions.
If you have a pond in your yard or neighborhood, you need to be especially careful and keep an extra watchful eye on your four-legged-pal. Although a pond may appear solid and frozen over, this could be misleading. Falling through ice to the icy waters underneath is a danger to dogs and children alike.
Finally, if you keep your dog’s food and water outside, be sure to check the water regularly to make sure it isn’t frozen. Dehydration can be an issue during the winter too.
We hope this helps your family and your dog enjoy this winter wonderland we find ourselves in today. Now, get on out there and have a dog-gone good time!