4 Winter Safety Tips for Dog Owners

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Just as winter can present new safety challenges for us, it can create similar issues for our beloved family dogs.  Here are 4 winter safety tips to consider as a dog owner:

  1. Salt used by your neighbours (or yourself) or even from salting/sanding trucks in your city can be dangerous for your pet. Some dogs will lick it up off the ground or from their fur and it can make them sick.  It can also irritate the pads on their paws so doggie boots can be a really good idea. I buy a salt substitute that still works well on removing the ice from our front and back steps and sidewalk but is safe for animals and environmentally friendly. Even so, I clean my dog’s paws off when she comes back inside just to be sure that there’s no chance of irritation especially if she’s been off our property where I can’t be sure of what’s been used. She won’t wear boots (just rips them off and chews them up) so I wash and dry her paws when she comes inside.
  2. Another issue with dog’s paws after being outside in the winter is that ice balls can form on the fur that sticks out from between the pads and this can make walking really painful. I trim that hair on a regular basis (or get it done by the groomer) and check her paws when she comes inside. Again, if your dog will tolerate boots, they can help with this issue too. If not, you can put a tiny bit of petroleum jelly on her paws (just enough to protect them from the snow and ice but not enough to make walking slippery and dangerous) before she heads outside.
  3. My dog has allergies and very sensitive skin so we’re always dealing with skin irritations. Winter can make this worse. Of course Trinity loves the snow and romping and leaping through it, followed by throwing herself down into the snow to make doggie snow angels is one of her favourite things to do. So keeping a towel by the back door and drying her off as best I can when she comes inside helps to keep her skin from getting too dry and flaky. I bathe her as rarely as possible and always use a moisturizing shampoo followed up by a moisturizing cream (both recommended by the vet) when I do need to give her a bath. Brushing her regularly can also help to distribute the natural oils in her skin and keep it from getting too dried out.
  4. If it’s too cold outside for you, then it’s too cold outside for your dog. We have neighbours who used to have a dog and they kept it outside nearly 24/7 – thunderstorms, 95 degree heat with high humidity, blizzards, ice storms – no matter the weather they were always tying that poor dog up outside (and yes, they got sick of me showing up at their house to tell them to let their dog in!). On those bitter cold days, my dog goes outside to do her business and that’s it. No walks, no playing outside. As in the summer, don’t leave your dog in your car in the winter either.  Dogs can get hypothermia just like we can. You can also help your dog stay warm by buying him/her a coat, especially if they have short hair.

19 thoughts on “4 Winter Safety Tips for Dog Owners

  1. Love this post!! Thanks for taking the time to write it. I have 3 dogs, and they are like kids to us. I see dogs outside in our neighborhood, when it’s very cold outside.

  2. Great tips! I am really impressed when folks dress their dogs in coats, hats and boots to protect them from the elements. You do this, why not your beloved pet?

  3. We are very fortunate to live in a part of the US that doesn’t get a lot of snow – but we do have our fair share of sleet and freezing rain, I’d rather have the white stuff! We also tend to have a lot of wind, and with our ongoing drought and the colder temps, the dogs’ allergies seem to be that much worse. Our 3 dogs spend most of their time indoors just to keep the sneezing and scratching to a minimum – you have shared some great tips though!

  4. Many people don’t know these things so thanks for posting! We have also taught our dog to “knock” when she wants in. We have a glass fronted door so this means we have to clean it more often but it’s totally worth it. Our Matty (a Golden Retriever) never has to stay outside any longer than she wants to…and she sits on the rug in front of the door (without being told) to get wiped down when she comes in. She enjoys it in fact. Who says you can’t teach an old dog new tricks? lol

  5. I agree with each of these tips. Yesterday I found a snowball stuck in our beagle’s paw. The relief on his face was so obvious. Right now out town has temps in the minus area and very strong winds. Our dog goes our for only a minute or two and right back in.

  6. This was great information. We have two Maltese, Freud and Pavlov who love to be outside. But with the cold weather we have been having, it is good to have read these tips.

  7. I enjoyed reading this post and am thankful that you are taking the time to let pet owners know safety tips for their dogs. We always use a ice melter that is safe for animals as well

  8. Good points! My dog also has allergies, we were able to purchase some wipes for his paws from the vet, they have a peculiar odor to them, but they seemed to help a little. Our puppy didn’t seem to have his problems in the winter or the snow, it was in the grass/weeds during spring and summer.

  9. These are all great tips. My dog loves snow so much but I don’t let her go out and stay out even though she wanted to and she gets mad at me when I bring her in. She actually hops up and down when she looks outside and sees snow. She is a husky and German Shepherd mix. She will also walk and lick the snow off the ground.

  10. These are great tips for people to know especially about the salt. A lot of people really don’t think about that one and with tip 4, I can’t believe some people need to be told about that one but they do. I feel bad for the ones that have to live outside. I have 2 Great Pyrenees, they love the cold and when I tell them its time to come in, they look at me like I’ve lost my mind, but I get them in. They’re my babies!

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