Worried about your pets in winters? Here are some vet-approved safety tips to keep your dog healthy during winters
Depending upon your location, winters in the US can be quite harsh. Below freezing temperatures, snow, sleet, and blizzards pose multiple perils not only for humans but for pet animals as well. Some of the common discomforts faced by dogs during harsh winters are cracked, rough, and sore skin and paws.
However, consider yourself lucky if these are the only discomforts your dog goes through during winters.
Dogs are susceptible to frostbites, chills, accidental consumption of antifreeze, and slipping down sleet-laden surfaces. To keep your dog unharmed these winters, read and follow these important safety tips.
Tips On How To Protect Your Dogs In Snowy Weather
Keep Their Body Temperatures in Check
- Despite being covered in thick fur, dogs are susceptible to getting cold as the temperatures drop. Watch out for your dog if it has thin fur or is either very young or too old. Your dog can fall ill if exposed to cold temperatures outdoors for prolonged periods. Exposure to cold temperatures without proper insulation can cause hypothermia and frostbite in dogs.
Your dog’s paws, toes, earflaps, and the tip of the tail are not covered with fur. These areas get cold first and may suffer from frostbite. A prominent sign of frostbite is that the skin turns blue or white.
- The rule of thumb is that if it is too cold for you, it will be too cold for your dog. Limit your dog’s outdoor time on chilly snowy days. Provide a warm and dry shelter for the dog which does not face any exposure to cold wind. Provide ample food to your dog to keep its energy levels up during winters.
Watch Out For Their Paws
During winters, pavements and roads are lined with salt, de-icers, anti-freeze, and similar dangerous chemicals. Dogs usually pick these chemicals as they roam outside. They remain unaware of the health hazards posed by these chemicals. If a dog accidentally licks its paws that are laden with toxic substances, it can lead to a medical emergency.
- During winters, make it a practice to wipe your dog’s paws every time they take a stroll outside. Look out for injuries that may occur due to cracked paws. Go the extra mile and buy de-icers that are safe for pets, for use at home.
Beware of The Antifreeze
During winters, antifreeze consumption is one of the leading causes of medical emergencies in dogs. Antifreeze has a very sweet and tempting taste which causes dogs to consume it. However, it is a highly toxic substance and even little quantity of it can cause kidney failure, and in extreme cases, death. Some of the common signs of antifreeze ingestion by dogs include:
- Extraordinary thirst
- Loss of appetite
- A drop in energy levels
If your dog ingests antifreeze, seek urgent care immediately. Take the following precautionary measures to avoid your dog’s exposure to antifreeze:
- Keep the antifreeze containers out of your dog’s reach by placing them on high shelves. Make sure they are airtight.
- Check for antifreeze leaks in cars.
Avoid Bathing Your Dog Excessively
- During winters, reduce the frequency of bathing your pets. A dog’s chances of catching a cold or other pulmonary diseases increase if its fur is wet. Also, when you bathe your dogs, the essential oils from their bodies get removed. The air during winters is already devoid of moisture.
Removal of essential oils during winters can lead to dry and itchy skin. It is recommended to use a moisturizing shampoo or soap during winters to avoid excessive drying. This information has been brought to you by Autumn Trails and Veterinary Center located in Charlottesville, VA