I am excited to introduce a guest blogger to our site! Alex Robbins of Safetytoday.org discusses the top five hazards pet owners should watch for during the Winter.
Wintertime can be fun for many animals, especially after the snow starts to fall. For some dogs, the cold–in brief increments–is tolerable, and adds to playtime. For other pets, however, winter poses several threats, some of which their owners may not think of until it’s too late. Others may know the risks but assume incorrectly that their pet isn’t in danger because of their breed. It’s important to understand these risks and the dangers that can befall a dog in the wintertime, because it’s more than just cold weather.
Here are the top five dangers to watch out for when winter comes to your neighborhood.
If you own a husky or similarly thick-haired breed, you may be tempted to let them stay outside for as long as they want. The tricky thing is, many dogs with thick coats enjoy winter weather and may not show that they’re cold, so it’s up to you to limit their time outside. Exposure can set in quickly and can lead to hypothermia or frostbite, especially on the sensitive pads of their feet. Set a time limit for your pet to be outside, and if it’s hard to stick to because of your daytime schedule, consider enlisting the services of a pet sitter. If you’ll be going out of town, consider boarding your pet.
It’s a scary fact that poisons are everywhere these days, and in the wintertime they might be in places you haven’t thought of. Antifreeze, salt, and de-icer are three of the most common during cold months and might be only as far as your driveway. When taking your pet for a walk, avoid driveways or areas where cars are usually parked and always use a warm washcloth or pet wipe to clean your dog’s feet when you get home.
It’s also important to put away that holiday chocolate and keep it out of your dog’s reach. Some fruits can be hazardous to dogs, as well, so take that into consideration when you leave the house.
While most dogs are pretty steady on their feet, icy walkways and sidewalks can be hazardous, especially for older pets. Keep to shoveled areas or head to the local park for walks.
The air around your house will likely get a bit dry during winter months, so make sure your dog isn’t suffering from dry skin by brushing his coat every day, and ask your vet about fatty acid supplements if you notice him scratching a lot.
Your dog will burn a lot of energy staying warm when the temps drop, so make sure he’s eating and drinking enough. Ask your vet before changing your dog’s diet, but it might be a good idea to look into adding more protein to keep his energy and immune system up.