Winter is coming, which means dog parents will have to watch out for a whole new list of dangers.
Due to the change of seasons, the dark nights move in faster and the cold temperatures begin to creep in.
But while these are obvious dangers, we need to watch out for other things, like antifreeze, rodent venom, and grit and salt.
And while it’s a great time of change, one thing won’t change, the need to take our dogs for a walk.
READ MORE: Bathing pets more than once a month can be harmful to their health
The Kennel Club has put together a list of winter hazards and advice to keep your pet safe during the colder months. There is more advice on their website and remember if you have any concerns about your pet’s health, check with your veterinarian.
Is antifreeze toxic to dogs?
Antifreeze can be extremely dangerous for dogs. It can damage your kidneys and be fatal, even if even a small amount is licked.
It smells and tastes sweet, so it may be irresistible to some dogs, who most often come across it after leaking from a car radiator or spilling after refilling windshield washer fluid.
If you notice any liquids on your car, keep your dog away and clean him up immediately. If they have gone through any, wash their paws immediately with soap and water. If you think your dog has been licked, drunk, or come in contact with antifreeze, contact your veterinarian right away.
The faster your dog is treated, the better.
Can dogs get hypothermia?
Very low temperatures and cold winds can quickly lower your dog’s body temperature and cause frostbite and / or hypothermia. Most dogs are fine outside as they are, but if it’s very cold or you’re spending a little longer outdoors you may want to consider a coat for them and some protection for their paws.
Every dog is different, but some dogs can be more at risk from cold weather, especially small, lean, very young, older dogs, or those with short hair.
When buying a coat make sure that it fits well so that it doesn’t move normally, either because it’s too tight or too loose. If you’re out in the cold and your pet starts shivering or looks very tired, get them home as soon as possible. If they are very unwell, get worse, or continue to feel unwell, contact your veterinarian right away.
Can dogs get frostbite?
(Image: R Lolli Morrow / Getty Images)
When walking your dog in very cold weather, it is important to keep a close eye on his or her paws. Ice and snow can stick to the fur between their pads and pads.
Not only can this be uncomfortable for your dog, but it also increases the risk of frostbite. If your dog lifts his paws, stops walking, or whines, it could be a sign that his paws are too cold. When he’s cold, a dog’s body restricts blood flow to its extremities (paws, tail, ears, etc.) and instead uses it to keep its vital organs safe and warm.
This protects the organs, but carries the risk of damaging these extremities from the cold. On very cold, freezing, or snowy days, try to keep the amount of time they spend outside to a minimum and consider using a coat or paw protector to keep them warm. If you are concerned that they may have frostbite, contact your veterinarian right away.
Can they play on frozen lakes?
If you are walking your dog near a frozen lake, let him off the leash and keep him close to you.
Frozen ponds or lakes can be dangerous. Sharp ice could cut their paws, slip and injure themselves, fall through the ice and drown, or develop hypothermia.
Although they appear solid, some frozen lakes can have holes or areas of thin ice that your dog could fall into. If your dog falls through ice, don’t go after him. If the ice is broken for your dog, it will likely break under your weight as well. Try using a long stick or leash to give them something to hold on to, or encourage them to swim over to you by shouting their name.
Should we be careful with grit and salt?
Winter brings ice, snow, and rain and can cause surfaces to become slippery for both you and your dog, so be extra careful! Recently scattered surfaces can also be harmful to dogs.
Sand can get stuck in your paws and cause pain, redness, or cracking, and it can contain salt or other chemicals that can cause further irritation. If licked in large quantities, the salt in the road litter can be harmful to your dog.
You may also want to use protective shoes for your dog. If you suspect your dog has eaten rock salt, contact your veterinarian right away.
How about staying safe in the dark?
As the nights fall and the evenings get darker earlier, remember to protect you and your dog by wearing reflective clothing and using bright or reflective collars or luminous leashes.
Road accidents are common in winter, and there are a number of things you can take to help make you and your dog more visible at night. Make sure your dog is microchipped and that they have ID tags in case they are lost after dark.
Are people more likely to use rat and mouse poison in winter?
Rats and mice look for warmer shelters in the colder months and so more people tend to ditch toxins in the winter. These poisons are said to be attractive to rodents, but can smell and taste good to your dogs as well.
There are many different types of rat and mouse poisons out there, but when you use them make sure they are placed in places where your dog cannot reach them. Always contact your veterinarian right away if you are concerned that he has eaten poisons.
Should I walk my dog in the cold if he has arthritis?
Signs of arthritis can get worse in colder temperatures. So if your dog has this condition, they may be stiffer, especially in the morning before they are warmed up. If you are concerned about these signs and your dog is in pain, contact your veterinarian.
If I walk my dog less in winter, will he gain weight?
In the winter months we are often less active due to the cold, wet weather and the darker evenings. Less exercise means it will be much easier for your dog to gain weight, so it is important to keep an eye on their weight and height. During the winter, you may need to cut down on your food portions to prevent them from piling up the pounds. Keep your dog healthy by taking him for regular walks, and have warmer winter accessories handy when needed. When you can’t go out, keep your dog active and entertained by playing indoor games with them.