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8 Tips to Keep Your Dog Safe All Winter

January 4, 2018

By Ann Mazzoli

Even though your dog wears a fur coat year-round, believe it or not, she can be as chilly as you, especially when out for long walks on a harsh winter day. Here are some tips to keep your pooch safe and comfortable:

GEAR UP

  • Get your dog a sweater or jacket if he is small or short-haired. It will help him maintain body heat while outside. Booties can also help protect him from the elements, ice melt and salt, which can be harmful to the paws and if ingested (dogs may lick their paws if they hurt or tickle).
  • Snow and ice can limit scents that could usually help lead a lost pet home. Make sure your dog has a collar that fits well and has well-secured ID tags.  Remember to update her tags and her doggie microchip information!
  • Don’t let your dog walk on ice on ponds and lakes. It’s a common myth that animals can sense unsafe ice. Your dog may fall in, suffer frostbite, hypothermia or even drown.

 

ACT FAST

  • Wipe down or wash your dog’s paws, legs and belly after a walk to remove antifreeze and de-icers. This prevents him from licking and ingesting any harmful chemicals. (It will also keep those toxic substances off your family’s floors and furniture!) Check paws for cracks or bleeding.
  • If your dog is shivering, whining, or seems weak, get inside as soon as possible, as it could be a sign of hypothermia. If your dog still seems cold once inside after a few minutes, contact a vet immediately.
  • If your dog starts favoring a paw during a walk, check for a cracked paw or ice build up between the toes.

 

BETTER SAFE THAN SORRY

  • Keep extra food, water and blankets handy for your dog so you are prepared for emergencies like snowstorms and power outages.
  • Wipe up antifreeze leaks and spills immediately and keep the bottles locked up. Antifreeze is sweet tasting and deadly to dogs and other animals.

 

We know this sounds very scary! But don’t be afraid of winter weather. You and your dog can still enjoy the chilly days if you are ready and safe. Want to know more?  Visit AVMA and HSUS. Stay warm!

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