The Biggest Hazards for Your Dog This Winter
We are now in December, and the winter is in full swing. Whether you live in a snowy climate or one that is merely a little chillier and rainier, in wintertime, there are many new hazards that dog owners need to be aware of. Knowing some of the most common occurrences will help you prevent something tragic from happening to your pup. The winter is already such a busy time, with the holiday season and the end of the calendar year. Don’t let an injury, illness, or dog bite further complicate your winter.
Antifreeze can leak from a car’s radiator. It contains ethylene glycol, which is extremely dangerous when consumed. It is sweet tasting and palatable, even a small amount can cause potentially fatal kidney damage. In the early stages, your dog may seem drunk. If you know or fear your dog has ingested ethylene glycol, contact your vet immediately.
The common holiday poinsettia plant is poisonous if eaten in large quantities, while holly and mistletoe plants are toxic to dogs. Symptoms of illness from ingesting these include intestinal upset, such as vomiting and diarrhea, excessive drooling, and abdominal pain.
These two objects are more commonly found in winter than any other season, and with the change in weather, your dog is likely to be spending a great deal more time indoors. If your home has any lurking hazards, make sure to put them out of your dog’s reach.
Slim dogs with a short hair coat may feel the cold more than you think, and as your dog gets older they will begin to feel the cold more. Dogs are just as sensitive to cold weather as people, and hypothermia is a risk if they’re exposed to extreme temperatures. Most dogs will be fine without a coat while exercising, but if you are likely to spend long periods outside you should consider bringing one. You never know what extreme temperatures may bring about in your dog.
Keep a regular check on your dog’s paws as ice and snow can build up in the space between their toes with the risk of frostbite. Salt and other chemicals used to grit roads and pavements can also be an irritant to your dog’s pads, especially if they have any small abrasions. Wipe their paws with a cloth and warm water after adventuring out.
Lack of Exercise
With fewer daylight hours and colder, wetter weather you may find that your dog does not get as much exercise as in the summer. Obesity is a growing problem in dogs and can lead to other illnesses. Monitor their weight and food intake, as you may need to reduce food portions over the winter.
Change in diet and activity can also make your dog moody and restless. In addition to making things more difficult around the house, this could cause your dog to feel agitated and lash out at you or your guests.
Road Traffic Accidents
If you are walking in low light or darkness, consider a fluorescent jacket and collar. You could also attach a flashing light to your dog’s collar to make them easier to spot. Road traffic accidents are a common cause of injury and death in dogs during the winter months.
No matter the season, always make sure to secure Dog Bite Insurance protection for you and your dog.