Top 5 Winter Hazards For Your Dog

Top 5 Winter Hazards for Your Dog

For all the doom and gloom about the season, there really is a lot to enjoy about the winter months. While it’s colder, and the days don’t last nearly as long, there’s a lot to be said for going out in the snow, especially when you have a dog. There are a number of breeds that enjoy nothing more than a good romp in the fluffy white stuff, however, with snow and cold comes hazards for your dog. It’s important to keep a few of these issues in mind before you bundle up and grab the leash.

Photo Taken By: Dan Bennett

Even Dogs Can Get Frostbite

What most people don’t realize is that even though a dog has a fur coat, frostbite is still a very real hazard for them. Your dog’s ears and the tip of it’s tail are especially susceptible to frostbite, while it’s body attempts to pull the blood away from the extremities for warmth. If you see ice crystals forming on your dog, don’t try to remove them yourself. Instead, take them to the vet, immediately, to make sure theres no damage to the tissue.

Hypothermia is Dangerous for Humans and Dogs

Similar to frostbite, your dog is can also face hypothermia when exposed to the cold for too long. This is especially true for older dogs, or ones that aren’t in the best of health. While a fur coat can help keep them warm, it doesn’t make them impervious to the cold. Hypothermia can put your poor pup into cardiac arrest and causes a myriad of other health issues. If your dog is an outdoor dog, make sure they have plenty of warm bedding to keep them safe from the chill, or better yet, bring them inside.

Things Hiding Under the Snow

The cold and snow present their own issues, but what is hiding beneath the snow can be just as bad, if not worse. Sharp rocks and broken glass can cut the pads on your dogs paws. Discarded trash might prove a poison hazard if ingested by your dog. If you notice their paws are bleeding or they’re getting sick, get them to the vet immediately.

Ice Melt and Solar Salt can Cause Chemical Burns

This is a hard one to avoid when walking your dog. While it’s necessary to keep the sides clear of ice and snow, the salt can cause chemical burns to your dogs paws. Washing your dogs paws if you suspect they’ve walked through the salt can help to keep burns from happening. Pet supplies stores offer ointments and salves which help form a protective barrier between their paws and the salt. You might also consider getting them petsafe booties which keeps their tender paws warm from the snow and safe from the salt (it also goes a long way to cutting down on muddy pawprints through the house).

Antifreeze Poisoning

The good thing about Antifreeze is that it goes a long way towards keeping your car running in the freezing winter month. The bad thing about it is that it is incredibly poisonous to pets. Despite the sickly green color, antifreeze is incredibly sweet tasting which makes it all too tempting for your dog. It only takes a very small amount to make your dog incredibly sick. Make sure you clean up spills quickly and thoroughly to avoid any issues. If you think your dog has ingested any or has any strange symptoms, it’s important to get them to the vet right away.

While winter comes with a lot of hazards for your pets, don’t let that discourage you from taking them out to play. Running around in the snow is good exercise for both of you, which is never a bad thing. Just be mindful of these hazards and be ready to take your dog to the vet if you think something is wrong. Even if you’re just being over precautious, it’s better to be safe than sorry, especially when it comes to your dog

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+Neil Kilgore is the Jack (Russell) of all trades at Greenfield Puppies in Lancaster Pa. He regularly blogs about dogs, breeders and puppies on the Greenfield Puppies website.

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