5 Winter hazards & how to combat them
Winter can be great fun with your dog. With festive photoshoots, walks through the snow and snuggles under a blanket. To make sure you have a safe and enjoyable winter, we have put together a list of a few common hazards to be aware of. All of these hazards are preventable so do not worry too much, there are simple ways to deal with them all.
With rats and mice more likely to come indoors during the colder months, you may have to consider laying down poison in your home.
Of course, this is highly dangerous for dogs too and can cause severe health issues or even death.
To prevent your dog from ingesting poison you should consider humane traps, repellent sprays or speak to a pest control company. If these aren’t viable options for you, then ensure your dog is not in the same room as the poison until you have cleared it away.
2) Antifreeze & low temperatures
Antifreeze and frozen ground can be harsh on your dog’s soft pads and may even cause damage to them.
There are a number of methods to prevent this occurring and it all depends on your dog’s individual needs and personality.
First, trim the hair between your dogs pads. This will prevent a build up of grit and ice that can be uncomfortable. Next, you could consider applying a dog pad balm or vaseline on their pads. This will create a barrier between them and the ground. Alternatively, you could put your dog in boots but some dogs don’t react well to these and may not be able to walk in them.
If your dog is older or less active, it may be best to shorten their walks in winter. Regular short walks will help prevent them from getting too cold and hurting their paws.
3) Road traffic accidents
Shorter days mean you are more likely to be walking your dog in the dark and this can pose a risk if you are walking near roads.
To protect both you and your dog, you should avoid wearing all black or dark colours and opt instead for reflective accessories such as collars, leads or vests for your dog and fluorescent shoes, strips on clothes or jackets for yourself. A collar on your dog is a great option as it means even if they are off lead and run off, they will still be visible to road users while you aren’t with them.
If you are looking for more tips on walking your dog in winter, we have a helpful article here.
4) Weight gain
Although this is more of a concern for older dogs and ones who struggle to walk in the cold, this may also affect dogs who are usually highly active but can’t fit in as much exercise during winter. Weight gain will impact the health of your dog as well as their joints so it is important to regulate their weight.
If you are concerned about the weigh they have gained, you can adjust their food intake slightly. Although it is tempting to give them food off your plate, especially around Christmas and all the good food that involves, you should avoid additional treats and stick to their meals. You may also consider reducing their food intake if they are exercising less as they may not need as much.
If your lifestyle has to change during winter and their weight only gradually increases across the winter months, it may be the case that you don’t need to change anything significantly and the weight will drop off once they go back to normal in spring - just like humans!
Of course, bear in mind that extra fur and fluff will add to their weight and it’s not necessarily fat. So, adjust their food accordingly and speak to your vet if you want a second opinion.
Hypothermia may sound scary, but it is easy to prevent and take care of your dog to ensure they aren’t effected!
Avoid washing your dog outside and always make sure to dry them vigorously and thoroughly. Extra thick fur will hold onto the water and damp fur for prolonged periods can cause chills.
Keep their fur slightly longer or skip the trim entirely if your dog is not a breed that needs the regular grooming appointments. This will help them to naturally insulate themselves.
Looking for more tips on winter grooming? We have an article here!
You could also consider a coat for short hair breeds and elderly dogs, this will keep cosy on walks.
When you’re at home, if you think they could do with some added warmth, add blankets and soft toys to their bed. This will help them keep warm and they will definitely appreciate the comfort!
Now that you have an idea of what to look out for and how best to keep your dog safe and healthy this winter, it’s time to go out and have some fun! Why not check out our favourite winter walks guide here and get exploring! If you don’t feel like a big walk, how about our guide to a cosy night in with your pooch?