It is a misconception that pets can withstand the winter better than humans. Some larger breeds of dog with long or thick fur fare well when the temperature drops but as a rule of thumb I stick with “If I feel cold, so too will my pet”. It is dangerous to let them stay out too long, risking their health.
These are our top tips for keeping your pets safe in winter:
Be Visible. Use a reflective lead/ collar or jacket while walking your dog. These essential items make sure cars can see your dog while walking by the roadside and will help you spot your dog when off lead across fields or the park.
Water. Make sure your pet has enough fresh water to drink. This should prevent them drinking from puddles which may contain poisonous substances like antifreeze, oil or gritting salt.
Ice. Pets can damage their ligaments and pull muscles if they slip so keep an eye out for icy patches. If walking near areas of frozen water keep your dogs on the lead. They can easily fall through ice but can rarely make it out without help.
Ears. Their ears are freezing cold. This is a definite sign that they are too cold. Bring them indoors.
Behaviour. While dog walking, watch out for whining, an anxious appearance, slowing of pace or shivering. These are indicators that it is time to get back indoors and warm up.
Paws. Always wash your dog’s paws after each walk with luke warm water. Gritting salt can irritate the pads and cause them to dry and crack. Trim the fur on your dog’s paws to prevent ice balls forming. Use petroleum jelly or wax to protect their paws before you leave home.
At home. Leave a towel on the radiator to wrap around your dog when you get home. All pets should have a good thick bed. It needs to insulate them from the cold floor and cushion their joints.
Don’t let the cold keep you from venturing out and having fun just keep an eye out for signs that it’s time to head back inside. Your pets will be safe If you keep these points in mind.