Dog Walking in the Winter

Wintertime walks with dogs can be a challenge, but with these tips you can ensure everyone stays warm and safe.  Here are some precautions you should take to keep your pet safe and warm when dog walking during the winter.

Be Careful With Ice

Just as ice is incredibly slippery for humans, the same is true for dogs. So be careful when crossing an icy path. Go slowly to make sure your dog doesn’t slip, and don’t let him run across.  Arthritic and elderly pets may have more difficulty walking on snow and ice and may be more prone to slipping and falling.

Don’t Let Your Dog Eat Snow

It’s no secret that dogs tend to eat whatever they find — and as tempting as snow looks and as harmless as it seems, this can be a bad idea. Snow may contain chemicals, and it’s possible that sharp objects (or other harmful ones that could be swallowed) are hidden in the snow.

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Don’t Let Your Dog Eat Antifreeze

Most pet parents know that dogs shouldn’t eat antifreeze, but this risk increases during the winter months, especially when you go on a walk and pass areas that may have this dangerous chemical.

During walks, your dog’s feet, legs and belly may pick up deicers, antifreeze, or other chemicals that could be toxic. When you get back inside, wipe down (or wash) your pet’s feet, legs and belly to remove these chemicals and reduce the risk that your dog will be poisoned after (s)he licks them off of his/her feet or fur. Consider using pet-safe deicers on your property to protect your pets and the others in your neighborhood.

Sweaters and Booties

If you have a small dog or one with short fur, consider getting either a coat or sweater for the dog to wear during winter walks.   Most dogs have little fur on their feet, so consider getting doggie booties for walks. Not only will these help keep the paws warm, but they can also offer protection. Booties give dogs a better grip and prevent them from accidentally stabbing themselves on objects buried under the snow.

Check the paws: Check your dog’s paws frequently for signs of cold-weather injury or damage, such as cracked paw pads or bleeding. During a walk, a sudden lameness may be due to an injury or may be due to ice accumulation between his/her toes. You may be able to reduce the chance of iceball accumulation by clipping the hair between your dog’s toes.

Pay Attention

Even if your dog is wearing a coat or sweater and booties, there is a good chance he will start to get cold if he is outside for too long. So keep a close eye on him throughout your entire walk. If your pup starts to shake or shiver, it is a sign that he is too cold and needs to go home.

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