Caring for Canines in Winter

As the temperatures drop and winter weather brings snow and ice, there are steps you can take to keep your dog safe, healthy, and happy. Check out our tips below for caring for canines in winter.

  • Beware of salt and ice-melt products: They can be dangerous if ingested and cause irritation on paw pads and skin. Rinse paws and any other areas of your dog that have come into contact with these products, and pat dry.
  • Avoid Antifreeze: Keep dogs out of garages and watch closely on driveways and roads to avoid accidental antifreeze exposure. Antifreeze smells and tastes sweet, but it’s very toxic and can be fatal to dogs if ingested.
  • Keep your dog hydrated: This can be tough in winter as your dog may not feel as thirsty as he does in the heat of the summer. Some tricks for ensuring proper hydration include adding water to his dog food just before setting it out, or switching to a larger water dish, which for some reason, entices dogs to drink more than they would from a smaller water bowl .
  • Don’t overfeed: If your dog lives mostly indoors, your dog will not need extra calories to “insulate” him. A well groomed coat is better insulation (and healthier) that an extra layer of fat. Most dogs get less exercise in the winter and actually require fewer calories than normal. To help combat weight gain from being sedentary, sign him up for a 15 minute walk or, better yet, a 1 hour Nature Hike on his next day of daycare at DogServices.
  • Consider a coat if your dog is a short-haired breed, and limit time outdoors on especially cold days. It is possible for dogs to get frostbite- particularly on their ears, tail, and feet, if left outside in cold temperatures for too long.
  • Prevent burns: fireplaces, radiators, and space heaters used to heat your home can pose a risk of burns to pets. Use protective screens or gates around those heats sources that can’t be moved, and place portable heat sources like space heaters somewhere your pet cannot bump into it or knock it over.

Remember, DogServices has an indoor playroom so our guests can still enjoy socialization and exercise safely on those bitter, windy days this winter.

If you believe your dog has gotten frostbite, suffered a burn, or you have other health concerns, please call your vet right away. If you see or suspect your dog ingesting antifreeze, call for emergency help at once. The ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center phone line is 888-426-4435 (a $65 consultation fee may apply).