By Amanda Jelinek, ZimmVet Pet Hotel and Dog Daycare Receptionist
During this snowy season, there are pups that love being outside and playing in the snow. However, it is important to take precautions for your pet during this cold season.
Pet Safe Salts
Ice can be hazardous for you and your dog. It’s important to always keep pet-safe, nontoxic salts around to help prevent any slipping, cut paws, or other injuries for you and your dog. The reason nontoxic and pet safe salts are important is they will prevent any burning of the pads or ingestion issues you could have with regular salts in the winter. This is also important to keep in mind when taking your dog on walks or traveling with them. Always keep a close eye on them around any salts, or de-icers you did not put down.
It is also very important to keep up on taking care of your dog’s paws in the winter. Making sure their nails are trimmed will help prevent slipping and keep their nails from digging into their paw pads. If you have a longer haired dog it’s also important to keep your dog’s pads shaved and their feet fur trimmed. This will help prevent snow from accumulation in the paws, and becoming uncomfortable for your pup.
Keeping your dog’s coat clean and brushed out will also do wonders for them in the winter! Taking a few minutes each time they come in from a play session outside to dry them off and brush them out (if long coated) will help maintain a clean and healthy coat.
Dog Jackets, Sweatshirts, and Boots
Sometimes if you have a shorter haired or smaller dog, sweaters and boots in the winter will help your dog enjoy being outside more often. Smaller or shorter haired dogs will generally run outside to use the bathroom and run back in, mainly because they are cold. If you compare it to humans, a lot of us hate going outside in the winter, even when we have lots of layers on!
When considering playtime for your dog remember to consider all of the factors that go into how well they can tolerate the climate. This includes age, coat length, snout type, and size. So even if your dog LOVES being outside in the snow, if they are smaller and or/shorter coated you should limit the amount of time they are outside. This will help prevent issues like frostbite or hypothermia.
Frostbite and Hypothermia
When looking for frostbite in your dog, a good place to start is their ears, paws, and tail. These will be the most vulnerable to the climate. Also make sure if you’re concerned your pet may have been out too long, to check for frostbite a couple of times, or several hours. Frostbite does not always appear immediately. When it comes to Hypothermia make sure to watch out for the following symptoms; Shivering, lethargy, stiff muscles, pale or grey gums, stumbling or lack of coordination, fixed or dilated pupils, low heart rate, and collapse. Hypothermia can be deadly if untreated, so make sure to get in contact right away if you suspect your pet has hypothermia or even frostbite. They will be able to correctly diagnose and treat your pet’s condition.
Overall winter can be a fun time of year for dogs, but it is important that we as owners make sure we are taking time and precaution to help keep our dogs healthy and safe!