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Those of us living in cold, snowy regions of the country are used to the yearly routine of getting ourselves ready for the frosty season. We normally change our wardrobe, insulate our homes, and even get our cars set up for the winter roads. Because our dog needs as much preparation as we do, it’s crucial that we never forget taking precautions to keep Fido warm and safe. Due to the serious wintertime hazards outside, like ice and antifreeze, taking certain steps to ensure that the season brings only joy is of utmost importance.
How to Keep Fido Safe during Winter
· Keep a sharp lookout for ice. Since dogs can easily slip and break their bones just as people can, try your best to be extra careful around icy patches while walking. Besides, if you walk your leashed pooch, and he suddenly pulls you on icy spot, both of you may fall and injure yourselves.
· Protect Fido’s feet. Some breeds have feet that tend to be better equipped for snow as compared to others. Siberian Huskies, for instance, have thick pads as well as dense coarse hair on their paws which protect them from the dangers of the freezing cold season. If your dog is not naturally designed for this, however, never let him stay out in the open for very long. Also, always dry their sensitive paws and wet fur with a clean soft towel once they come back in from play.
· Do not leave your pooch out alone in the cold. Like people, dogs can also get hypothermia. To avoid the serious consequences of this condition, see to it that you limit the time Fido spends outside, especially if he’s thin-coated, small, or old.
· Watch out for antifreeze. Although antifreeze can taste and smell great to animals, this substance is highly toxic for them. Always keep an eye out for any antifreeze spill, and once you suspect that your pooch has eaten some of it, take him to your vet immediately.
· Never feed him snow. Your pooch may love catching an icy snowball in his delicate mouth, but this fun activity could be unsafe or even deadly to him. Not only will it put him at risk of being intoxicated by poisonous chemicals that have lingered on the ground and mixed up with the slush, but feeding large amounts of it can also dramatically lower your pooch’s core temperature and trigger hypothermia.
Other Important Safety Reminders
1. Use coats as well as booties to help Fido stay warm.
2. Help protect his dry and sensitive paws by coating them with a small amount of paw protectant (natural cooking spray works too!) prior to walks.
3. Always be extra-careful upon looking after sick or senior dogs outside since they tend to be more sensitive to extremely cold weather conditions.
4. To minimize the amount of snow collecting between Fido’s toes, try clipping the hair there.
5. Keep containers of warm water as well as clean towels by your door for easy use right after walks.
6. Since dogs can lose their scent during cold weather, never be tempted to let Fido go without his leash in snow outside of a secure, fenced in area. If he runs off, he may not be able to find his way back.
As long as you’re safe and take the necessary precautions, letting your dog play in the snow can be fun for you both!
Does your dog love to play in the snow? What precautions do you take before letting him outside in the winter – we’d love to hear your tips!