How to keep dogs safe in cold weather

As we head in to winter and the temperature drops, be sure to keep your dog safe and warm. Here are some top tips to ensure that your dog is happy and healthy in the colder months.

1. Try to get your dog out on walks to keep them stimulated and exercising but:

- be extra careful with arthritic or elderly dogs that will not be as agile on slippery, icy ground

- avoid walks that encompass frozen ponds or lakes; your dog may venture on to the ice and there is no guarantee it will support their weight

- in snowy conditions beware of them running into covered hazards such as rocks or sharp objects.  

2. Shorter days and bad weather may mean you're walking in conditions with poor visibility, so:

- make sure your dog has a collar with a tag and the information is up to date both here and with the microchip company
- stick to familiar walks that your dog knows well and are away from roads.

3. Check your dog's paws after a snowy walk and remove any ice balls from between the pads as well as any irritant chemicals, salt and grit that may have been used in preparing the pavements for the wintry conditions.

4. Many cases of Antifreeze (ethylene glycol) poisoning are encountered every winter in our cats and dogs. If you use Antifreeze, you must store it safely away from your pets and be very careful to clean up any spills or leaks thoroughly. Ingestion of a tiny amount can result in severe poisoning and many cases are sadly fatal. If you suspect your pet has ingested any Antifreeze, contact a vet straight away.

5. Dogs' tolerance for cold will vary and some dogs can cope in cold weather but small, short legged, short coated and thin dogs, as well as very young or elderly dogs, will be more prone to hypothermia and frostbite.

6. We don't recommend keeping your dog outside for any length of time in very cold weather, but if they have to be kennelled, they should have a solid shelter against the wind that is raised off the ground with thick, dry bedding and access to water that has not frozen.

7. You'll need to consider their food intake this winter too!

- fewer calories will be needed if they are in a warm house but not managing to exercise

- more calories will be required to maintain their weight, whilst generating body heat, if they are outside for long periods of time. If you are concerned about your dog’s health, please contact your vet straight away.

Alternatively, if you would like to be put in contact with our in-house vet, please give us a call on 01743 384562 or send us an email at [email protected]