Keeping your dog safe this winter
With the dark night’s drawing in and brisk frosty mornings around the corner, keeping your dog safe whilst on a walk is at the forefront of every dog owner’s mind.
There are many potential dangers that you might encounter whilst out on your walks in winter, but knowing what these dangers are will help you avoid them.
As people start to fill up their car with antifreeze it is inevitable that some will get spilled on to driveways, roads and pavements over the next months. However, antifreeze due to its sweet smell and taste it can be irresistible to dogs, which can be extremely dangerous as it can have a damaging effect on the kidneys and potentially cause death.
Ways to try and avoid your dog being affected by antifreeze is if you notice any liquids on the floor whilst out walking try to keep your dog away from it. If your dog does happen to walk through antifreeze then make sure you wash their paws with warm soapy water as soon as possible. And if your dog does happen to ingest antifreeze contact your vet immediately.
The drop in temperature and the cold wind can quickly reduce your dog’s body temperature which can lead to frostbite and/or hypothermia. Most dogs will be fine outside as they are, however, every dog is different and some might need that extra bit of protection from the elements outside.
You can help to keep your dog warm in the winter weather by buying them a coat, this will not only keep them warm but it will also help to protect them from the wind and rain.
When walking during the cold snaps, it is extremely important to keep a close eye on your dog’s paws, as when the weather is cold warmth is drawn away from the extremities to the centre of the body to protect vital organs from the cold. As ice and snow can stick to the fur between their pads and ball-up, this could not only be uncomfortable for your dog but it also increases their risk of frostbite.
This can be prevented by limiting the time they spend outside on very cold, icy or snowy days. Alternatively you might want to also think about using paw protectors that will help keep their paws warm preventing frostbite.
When walking your dog if you happen to come across a frozen lake, keep your dog close to you and away from the frozen water. Frozen lakes or ponds can be dangerous. Sharp broken pieces of ice could cut their paws, they could slip or they could fall through the ice potentially developing hypothermia or in some cases even drowning.
The best way to avoid frozen lakes is to plan your dog’s walk before you take them, you can also lessen the risk of them venturing on to the frozen water by putting them on their lead as soon as it comes in to sight.
Keep you and your dog safe on dark winter nights by wearing reflective clothing and/or flashing lights. Road traffic accidents are more common in the winter, but there are a number of steps that you can take to make your dog more visible at night. For example: a reflective dog coat and a light up collar will help make sure your dog can be seen in the dark. Also make sure that your dog is micro-chipped and has an ID tag with a contact number in case they get lost in the dark.
If your dog suffers from arthritis, their condition can get worse in colder temperatures. So if your dog suffers from this condition they may be stiffer, especially in the morning before they’re warmed up.
You can help your dog with their arthritis by helping to keep them warm and by feeding them a joint supplement, such as TurmerEase™ to help with any potential stiffness.
These are just a few of the issues that you might encounter through the dark cold winter months. However, with the right planning and support you and your dog will be ready to continue your daily walks!