The dark, cold days of autumn are with us again and soon, we’ll get the winter frosts and snow.
So it’s best to prepare for the worst so your pet is kept safe from harm. Think about what you will allow your dog to do when the temperature drops and consider the potential hazards.
Dog’s feet, ears and under body are susceptible to cold or frostbite and shorthaired breeds are even more vulnerable so you should consider buying them a body coat or jacket to go out in.
Jagged ice, frozen plant stems and roots are sharp and can cut your dog’s footpads so be careful where you take it for a walk.
Snow can also collect on the hair between the pads, sometimes forming icy balls that can cause pain and injury to the foot. Trimming the long hair from the bottom of the feet may help prevent problems with snowballs. Always check your dog’s feet after he’s been out in snow and, if you go for walks in the snow, check your dog’s feet frequently.
The combination of snow and bright sun can cause snow blindness in both humans and dogs if eye protection is not worn.
Icy surfaces, especially stairs and steps, are as dangerous for your dog as they are for you and older dogs, or those with arthritis or other problems that limit their mobility are particularly in danger of falling on slippery surfaces. Try to provide an ice-free path from your door to your garden for your dog to go out without slipping and causing injury.
Salt and other chemicals used to melt ice from streets and paths can irritate your dog’s paws. They are also toxic if ingested. If such chemicals are used where you walk, wash your dog’s paws when you get home to be safe
Ponds and streams also present risks in cold weather and if your dog swims in very cold water on cold days, it can cause hypothermia, or chilling of the body.
Only very fit dogs or hardy breeds that are built for cold-weather swimming should go in the water. Even so, once the water freezes over, thin ice can be extremely hazardous so don’t allow your dog (or anyone else) to run on the icy surface of frozen water. If your dog falls through, he may not be able to find the hole again or may not be able to climb out.
Protect against these potential dangers and you can enjoy a walk on a crisp winter day with your dog without worries.