According to Punxsutawney Phil, we’ll be having six more weeks of winter. As a reminder, be sure to keep you dog warm and safe for the remainder of the winter – however long that might actually be . . .
Winter can be a rough time for dogs and those of us who love them. Extreme cold aggravates arthritis in older dogs and can produce dry, cracked skin in others, much like humans. There are many winter hazards, inside and out, that can be lethal to dogs. Space heaters can cause burns and fires. Dogs kept outside day and night in cold weather climates are left to survive dangerously low temperatures and drink from water dishes that may freeze over. Hypothermia is a real threat in such circumstances. Tangled coats are ineffective at retaining heat and don’t provide protection against the cold and wind. Remember that being a dog owner means taking responsibility for your pet and protecting him from such dangers. Winterizing your home to ensure your dog’s safety requires a careful attention to detail and recognizing things that could prove harmful.
Be careful when you winterize your home. It’s easy enough to make a quick pass through the house and yard, picking up loose objects as you go and declaring it safe for your furry friend. Many people overlook or ignore things that clearly pose a danger to their pooch. This winter, be thorough as you look for any pet pitfalls.
When it comes to the cold, treat your little dog like you would a child. If it’s cold outside, a short-haired dog should have a sweater or covering of some kind. When the temperature dips below 20 degrees, it’s time to bring him inside. It’s recommended that dogs not be left outside overnight, though if yours likes to be outside a lot, you should have an insulated shelter that can protect him from the wind. Place some old blankets inside to provide additional warmth.
If your dog suffers from arthritis, a common problem with poodles, German shepherds, retrievers, and rottweilers, making a bed in a warm part of the house helps keep him comfortable. A space heater or wood-burning stove is a good way to keep certain parts of the house warm and toasty, but there are safety issues where dogs are concerned. Keeping heaters off the floor and their cords along the wall can prevent them from being knocked over. If your pooch is a little too nosy, try laying a mat with raised plastic bumps in front of your fireplace or wood-burning stove.
Paw problems and water dangers
Salt, calcium chloride, and magnesium are commonly used melting agents when snow and ice accumulate, but they can cause inflammation and irritation in your dog’s paws and are poisonous if ingested. Sand, cat litter, and coffee grounds are safer, more effective alternatives for your furry friend.
If you have a small pond or stream running near your property, keep your dog away from it when frozen over. Thin ice can break at any time, giving your pet an impromptu ice bath and possibly a case of hypothermia. And don’t forget to include a pool cover among your pool supplies to prevent falls.
Antifreeze is good for your car but dangerous to your dog. He’s sure to sniff out any that’s leaked onto your driveway or in the garage. A few drops of antifreeze could turn a harmless puddle into a deadly liquid containing ethylene glycol. It may taste sweet to your pet, but it can cause lethal kidney damage.
Dogs have a knack for finding trouble where you’d never think to look. Be on the watch for small things that represent big threats to your dog when you winterize your home. Careful attention to detail can keep your friend safe and warm all winter long.