The weather outside is frightful! It seems like everywhere on the east coast is covered in snow…except for us here in Virginia Beach! Although, it’s been freezing cold and raining so there’s that. I thought it was a good time to remind you of these winter dog safety tips. The weather is only going to get colder as we slide into Christmas and the New Year.
1. Limit Outdoor Activities
This one is a no brainer when you have a small dog like a Chihuahua. We don’t spend a ton of time outdoors this time of year because well…Chuy just isn’t cut out for it. I thought all people kept their dogs indoors with them but the longer I write this blog, I sadly discover this isn’t true. Your pets should be indoors when the weather is this cold..especially during freezing temps! Make those bathroom breaks fast!
2. Get Your Dog a Coat!
Whenever we go outdoors during the winter, we make sure to put a coat or a hoodie on Chuy. Some dogs may not need this but smaller dogs and those with shorter fur definitely will feel more comfortable in a dog jacket or coat.
Check this out: DIY Winter Wonderland Dog Sweater
3. Check For Signs of Frostbite
Just running out for a quick potty break can be dangerous in the frigid temps. Balls of ice and snow can clump up on their paws and their stomach area. You want to make sure to wipe down your dog to remove any snow or ice. Also, as a responsible pet parent, you need to know the signs of frostbite. This includes checking their ears, paws, and tail for sign.
According to VCA Hospitals, here are some of the clinical signs of frostbite:
- Discoloration of the affected area of skin that is often pale, gray or bluish
- Coldness and/or brittleness of the area when touched
- Pain when you touch the affected body part
- Blisters or skin ulcers
- Areas of blackened or dead skin
4. Wipe Down and Wipe Again!
It’s not just about wiping away any ice or snow from their paws. Lots of ice-melting chemicals that are used on sidewalks and driveways can be dangerous and in some cases lethal if ingested. Don’t forget to wipe their belly too! Since Chuy is so short, his belly always gets soaking wet. Check out Safe Paw which is a non-toxic snow melter safe for pets and kids.
5. Beware of Antifreeze
Another winter danger is antifreeze. It’s highly toxic and dogs love the taste because it’s sweet. Even a small amount can be deadly. There are “safe” nontoxic antifreeze options. Look for products that contain propylene glycol rather than ethylene glycol. Regardless, all spills need to be cleaned up immediately and thoroughly. Contact your veterinarian immediately if you suspect your pets have ingested any antifreeze!
6. Keep Water Readily Available
This is often overlooked in the winter months because it’s so cold. People forget that dogs and pets need fresh, clean water to drink often. Take along a portable water bottle dispenser when traveling or on walks.
7. Clear a Path in the Snow
If you live somewhere that often has snow on the ground, it’s smart to clear out a path for your dog. This way they have a safe and clear place to use the bathroom.
8. Create a Warm Snuggle Place Indoors
I know I love to snuggle up on the couch with a blanket during the cold, winter months. Dogs do too! Chuy usually just climbs under my blanket and hangs out as close to me as possible. He also has a warm dog bed of his own…in each room of our house. Yes, even in the baby’s room!
9. Don’t Leave Your Dog in a Cold Car
This is another one we tend to associate only with the summer time. It’s just as dangerous to leave your pets in a cold car. In fact, dogs can freeze to death even when left in a car for a short period of time. Don’t do it!
10. Play Indoor Games
Just like humans, dogs can get depressed in the colder months when they are in the house more often. Keep their minds stimulated by playing some dog games. You can also play fetch or hide and seek inside the house to keep them active.
I hope that these winter dog safety tips help you keep your dog safe. Do you have any other tips you want to share? Leave them in the comments down below.