With cold weather comes several dangers for our canine companions. Although some dogs are well-equipped to handle cold weather, most can use a little help! Here, your Omaha, NE veterinarian offers a few quick tips for keeping your dog safe and sound when the temperatures dip.
Rule number one when it comes to cold-weather safety: don’t leave your dog outdoors for long stretches of time. It’s simply not worth the risk of dangerous frostbite or deadly hypothermia; your dog will simply be more comfortable indoors, where they’ll stay safe and warm with you and your family. Keep outdoor bathroom breaks or play sessions to a maximum of 10 minutes; if it’s too cold for you, it’s too cold for your dog!
Don’t let your dog linger on patches of ice or cold metal surfaces; this can make them very uncomfortable. Plus, ice may contain road salt or ice-melting chemicals, which you don’t want your pet ingesting later when they lick their paws. It’s best to keep your canine companion moving along when on outdoor walks, and try wiping your pet’s paws with a soft towel once you’re back indoors.
Did you know that there are boots available for dogs? While not all pups take kindly to wearing them, they can help keep your dog’s feet warm and protected during severe weather.
Antifreeze gets added to our vehicles’ engines to keep them functioning properly, but it’s a dangerous toxin. That’s because it contains ethylene glycol, an alcohol that can poison dogs every easily. Even worse, ethylene glycol has a sweet smell and taste that may attract pets! Don’t allow pets outdoors when using antifreeze, and clean up any spills right away. Store the product carefully where pets don’t have access.
Ask your vet about feeding your dog a bit more during especially cold months—since dogs tend to expend more energy in the winter trying to stay warm, it’s helpful to replace burnt calories. It’s also important that your dog has plenty of fresh water to help them stay hydrated when the air is dry.
Don’t place your dog’s bed near a drafty window or door; pets can get quite uncomfortable overnight. Try adding a few soft blankets to Fido’s bed in the winter for added comfort.
Want more tips on cold-weather care? Call your Omaha, NE vet.