Winter Safety Tips for Dog Owners

Signs that your pet is too cold

winters are cold in toronto - take care of your dogs!!

winters are cold in toronto - take care of your dogs!!

If it’s too cold for you outside then your pets will feel the same. Just because they have fur doesn’t mean that they don’t feel the cold.  Keep an eye on the forecast and make sure you prepare for the cold weather. 

Your pets ears shouldn’t be freezing cold when you touch them. This is a definite sign they are too cold.

Much like we shiver when we are cold our pets will too.  This is a sure sign that it is time to bring them in out of the cold. Shivering is one of the early signs of Hyperthermia.

Animals tend to curl up when they sleep, but if they are curling up very tightly to keep warm then it’s time to bring them inside and provide warm bedding .

When your pets are too cold they will be very lethargic and slow moving and reluctant to go out after being inside.

Watch for a change in the behaviour of your pets once the cold weather starts and if they are acting differently to normal it may because they are cold.

Short haired breeds will often feel the cold more than long-haired breeds.

The Dangers of Hyperthermia

Hyperthermia can be fatal and early signs can often go unnoticed. If your pet is too cold then they will shiver and feel cold to the touch. It’s unlikely if your pet is indoors that they will suffer from hyperthermia unless the house is very cold and they have been left wet after a bath or not dried after a walk.

Make sure when you take your dog out for a walk that you dry them off and remove any ice or snow. 

Often people assume that because their pets have a fur coat they don’t feel the cold. However, It’s important that you don’t let things get to this stage and keep an eye on your pet.

How Should You Keep Your Pets Warm and Safe?

Keep your pet inside

The easiest way to ensure your pet is warm over the winter months is to bring them into the house.  

Extra Bedding

Just like we bring out the thicker duvet and extra blankets in the winter months, you probably need to do the same for your pets.  They might like an extra blanket or a warm bed when the cold sets in.

Clothing

For smaller or short-haired breeds a warm coat  can be a necessity for them in the colder months. If you are introducing clothing to your dog for the first time,  then it is advisable to try it out  for short periods to allow them get used to it.

Heating

During the very cold months, heated beds or blankets are a great addition for any pet. Much like we love our heated blankets your pets will appreciate the extra warmth

Beware of Antifreeze

Antifreeze is toxic to pets. Its sweet taste is attractive to animals, who will lick it or even drink it. Make sure that if you spill any, you clean it up and keep it well away from your pets. If you do suspect that your pets have ingested any then please take them straight to the vet. Take notice on walks if your dog is sniffing or licking at driveways or paths as there may be spilled antifreeze.

Avoid Ice

Be very aware of any frozen pond, lakes or areas of water. If you are taking your dog out for a walk and they are normally used to playing in the water, make sure you keep them on the lead. Frozen water can be very dangerous if it cracks under the weight of your dog, so it’s best to keep away from these areas.

Protect your Pets Paws

Salt added to the roads and sidewalks can irritate your pet’s paws so it is advisable to wash their paws when you come in from your walk and then dry them. If your dog has a lot of hair between their paws, then it can be a good idea to trim it to avoid a build-up of ice. If you don’t feel comfortable doing this yourself then ask your groomer.

Dog boots can be helpful if your dogs are sensitive. The balloon type of boots are easy to put on and because they are very lightweight, are accepted by most dogs. You will find them at most pet stores and at some vets offices.

Be Mindful of Older Pets

If you have a senior pet then it’s important to keep an eye on them during the cold weather. If they suffer from arthritis then it could flare up during the cold, so it’s important to make sure they are getting regular exercise and taking any supplements that are prescribed. If you are taking your dog for a walk in the icy weather then take care that they don’t slip and injure themselves.

Keep an Eye on Water Bowls

If your pets have water bowls outside, then make sure that they don’t freeze over. When the temperature drops they can freeze over very quickly, especially at night.

Maintain Visibility

There are many things you can do to keep you and your pets visible on walks. If you are out with your dog late at night then it’s important that people can see you on the road.  A high visibility coat  or reflective collar will keep your dog visible late at night on your walks.

It is important that your pets stay warm. They will be perfectly safe during the cold weather if you adopt some of these suggestions