Winter can be a lovely season with some spectacular snow scenes and cold, crunchy fields instead of the mud.n With winter comes dark evenings, and just like any other season, its own dangers to your dog
As I always tell my scouts, there is no such thing as bad weather, just lack of preparation. This includes what we wear to walk our dogs in the winter and to be aware of other dangers it brings.
Antifreeze is very common in the colder months, and even just a tiny amount can be very harmful to your dog. The trouble is dogs love the smell of antifreeze and the taste because it is sweet.
Be alert if any spilt antifreeze on the pavements in the roads and even in puddles.
It is important to wash and wipe your dog’s paws after every walk just in case they have picked up any antifreeze.
If you think your dog has consumed antifreeze, then you need to seek professional medical help as soon as possible.
Hypothermia is a big risk to both humans and dogs in the winter. This is particularly the case on stormy windy days, and a cold wind will penetrate and quickly reduce your body core temperature. It is therefore vital that you dress appropriately for the cold weather and layer up
While most dogs can cope with the cold weather, some dogs with short hair or thin hair, such as greyhounds and whippets, will struggle in the cold and benefit from a coat. If this is the case, you may wish to consider getting your dog a coat. When purchasing a coat, make sure it is a good fit and they can move and do their business without it restricting them.
When out on walks in the cold and damp windy weather,r it is vital you keep an eye on your dog and any signs of shivering. Then it is time to get them home.
During the cold weather, it is essential to check your dog paws when out on walks. If there is snow and ice underfloor, you need to ensure that iceballs do not start to form between the toes on your dogs’ paws. This is especially relevant with long hair dogs. As well as being very uncomfortable for your dog, it can also lead to frostbite.
If you notice that your dog is licking their paws or holding them in the air and whining, then it is most likely to them being too cold (after all, they don’t have shoes), and so it is time to head home and relax in front of the fire.
Frozen lakes and ponds are quite a big danger in the water as it is very easy for your dog to get confused and start walking on the pond and fall through and drown.
If you are unfortunate and your dog does fall into the frozen pond, please do not jump in to rescue them as you could end up getting in trouble as well and be of no use. Call their name to encourage them to swim towards you whilst using a stick to clear any ice.
Road grit and salt
Wintertime brings the possibility of black ice and slippery roads and pavements, especially if it rains after the snow has fallen then freezes.
Most local councils do their best to help make the roads and pavements less slippery by putting down rock salt
It is essential to remember that rock salt sticks to the paws of the dog and so cn=an be digested when they lick thee re paws
This is another good reason to wasj]h paws after every walk
brings ice, snow and rain and can cause surfaces to become slippery for both you and your dog, so
If your dog does ingest some rock salt, then contact your vet immediately
Dangers of the dark
With winter comes darker nights and darker mornings, and the winter solstice. Remember when you were a child and being told been seen at night, wear something bright? Well, this is just as important for both you and your dog
It is worth investing a hi-vis vest to wear whilst out walking the dog either in the darker mornings or darker nights or both, a decent headtorch so you can see to pick up poo etc. and a reflective lead and LED collar for your dog
When walking on roads always walk facing the traffic so the cars can see you
Winter is also an excellent time ti check that your microchip and ID tags are up to date in case the worse should happen
Rat and mouse poison
Whilst rats and mice are an all year problem; they become more of a problem in the winter as they seek warm, dry places
As a result, more people will be putting down poisons to reduce the amount of Vernon. These positions are designed to smell attractive to rodents. Alas, it means they also smell good to your dog
Please take extra care in the winter and be on the lookout for poison. If you think your dog has managed to get hold of any, then seek medical help immediately
If your dog suffers from arthritis or stiff joints, you will probably notice that joint pains will increase as the weather gets colder and wetter. This is especially the case first thing when they get out of bed and before the weather warms up
It is worth discussing a pain management plan with your vet or trying someone like Dorwest herbs for natural supplements
Winter weight gain
Dogs put on weight in winter the same as because it is cold and dark outside, and so we are all less active (plus overeating at Christmas
It is therefore essential you keep an eye on your dog’s weight, especially with older dogs, and if need be, reduce the portion sizes they have to prevent putting on the excess pounds
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