Proven Ways to Keep Dogs Safe in Cold Weather

Temperatures have been extremely low in many states across the country, bringing with it snow or icy weather. This has left many dog ​​owners wondering how they can best protect their pets while taking them for walks, and online Claims How Cold Weather Can Affect Dogs

Confirm readers, including Susan, reached out to ask about keeping dogs safe in the cold. We confirm the answers to five important questions about how to protect your dog in winter.


What did we get?

1. Is it safe for dogs to eat snow?


No, it is generally not safe for dogs to eat snow. There may be substances or toxins under the snow that make dogs sick.

There’s not much that can be done to prevent your dog from eating snow while outdoors, but it’s important to be aware of the potential health problems that can arise from dogs eating large amounts of contaminated snow.

“A small amount of snow is usually safe for dogs to eat and it’s good fun to chew on chunks of snow,” but “snow can hide grease, rocks, or small objects and these can be a problem for your dog.” may be detrimental to the health of,” Southern Cross Pet Insurance Says that.

Harmful substances, such as antifreeze or other snow and ice removal chemicals, can mix with snow and make dogs sick, close the veterinary clinic. Explains.

Ethanol glycol is the active ingredient in antifreeze. If you suspect your dog has ingested antifreeze, Cornell’s Canine Health Center Says that “Get veterinary care immediately” because ethanol glycol can be fatal if ingested.

American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Says that Dogs that melt snow may experience symptoms such as stomach upset, diarrhea, or in more serious cases, tremors and seizures.

A Pet Poison Helpline Article Explains that sodium chloride, a common ingredient in many ice melts, is toxic to dogs; Depending on the amount of sodium chloride in the ice melt and the weight of the pet, its use can be fatal, Small Door Vet. Says that.

2. Is “pet-safe” snowmelt really safer for pets?


Yes, “pet-safe” snow melt is safer for pets than other forms of snow melt.

The ASPCA says that normal snow melt usually contains sodium chloride, potassium chloride, calcium chloride, and magnesium chloride. Pet-safe ice melt does not contain sodium chloride, as “overuse of sodium chloride can cause sodium toxicosis and doses of 4 g/kg of sodium chloride can be fatal to dogs,” says Pet Poison. Helpline says.

No ice melt is completely safe, Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals International Says that. “Pet-safe” ice melts can still cause irritation or gastrointestinal problems because they may contain potassium chloride, calcium chloride, urea, and magnesium chloride.

The Commonwealth Veterinary Hospital states that “pet-safe” ice melt products that contain calcium or magnesium chloride salts can cause electrolyte imbalances, vomiting, lethargy or excessive thirst that dogs ingest. Eat products.

Calcium chloride can also cause mouth ulcers, says the ASPCA. The ASPCA added that while ‘pet-friendly’ snow melts generally contain safe ingredients, it’s still “best to be careful with them.”

The ASPCA says that melting snow can cause irritation and cracks in dogs’ paw pads. The organization recommends using shoes or paw wax and cleaning the paws with a damp cloth as soon as the dog comes inside.

Kansas State University Agricultural Research and Extension states that “pet-safe” snow melts that contain urea are less rough on paws because they are less corrosive than salt. Says that.

3. Can dogs catch a cold?


Yes, dogs can get cold. American Kennel Club Says that Dogs are at risk of frostbite if the temperature is below 32 degrees Fahrenheit.

A dog’s paws, ears and tail are most prone to frostbite, the AKC added. Although frostbite itself is usually not fatal, the AKC states that reduced blood flow can cause tissue damage, and the condition can lead to life-threatening hypothermia.

VCA says that if frostbite is severe, there can be permanent damage that can lead to amputation.

“Clinical symptoms of frostbite can take several days to appear, especially if the affected area is small or in non-weight-bearing areas, such as the tail or the tip of the ear,” according to a VCA. topic.

Signs to watch for include pain or tenderness, swelling, skin discoloration and stiffness, says the American Kennel Club.

It’s important to know how your dog reacts to cold weather, as some dogs are more sensitive than others. Cornell University’s Canine Health Center Note that “a dog’s cold tolerance varies with age, size, nutrition, health and coat thickness.”

The Canine Health Center states that puppies and dogs that are small, short, thin-coated, or large have more difficulty regulating their body temperature.

American Veterinary Medical Association Adds “Pets with diabetes, heart disease, kidney disease, or hormonal imbalances (such as Cushing’s disease) may have a harder time regulating their body temperature, and are more prone to problems with temperature extremes. Can be.” He advises consulting a veterinarian if there is any concern about determining the temperature range for a particular dog.

4. Can boots help protect a dog’s paws in snow or ice?


Yes, veterinarians and other experts say boots can help protect a dog’s paws in snow or ice. Wearing boots can also protect dogs from snowmelt and ice build-up in their paws.

Salt used on many icy roads and sidewalks can be abrasive and can damage paw pads. “Prolonged contact can cause chemical burns, dryness and painful cracking,” Medivet Says that. The veterinary group added that wearing boots “can provide protection against the elements, as well as additional grip on slippery surfaces”.

“Arthritic and elderly pets may have more difficulty walking on snow and ice and may be more prone to slips and falls,” says the American Veterinary Medical Association, so wearing shoes in these cases is also recommended. can provide

Since snow melt can be toxic to dogs, wearing boots can prevent dogs from getting sick, as they often lick their paws. Boots “can provide a protective layer between your paws and toxic anti-icing agents,” says Little Door Vet.

Wearing boots can also help dogs feel more comfortable in the cold and protect them from frostbite. “Cold surfaces can dry out the paw pads, causing them to crack and break,” says the American Kennel Club.

Some dogs may be sensitive to wearing shoes, and if so, there are other recommendations for keeping them safe without them.

Human Society Says that It’s important to “clean all paws with a wet towel before your pet licks them and irritates their mouth.” Soak the dog’s paws in warm water and dry them thoroughly after a walk, says the Little Door Doctor. “Applying some balm or petroleum jelly to the paw pads can help prevent and reduce paw pad irritation,” adds Cornell University’s Canine Health Center.

5. Is it okay to keep long haired dogs in winter?


Yes, it’s okay to have long-haired dogs in the winter. Although long coats can keep pets warm, dog breeders can prevent them from shedding.

“The combination of less outdoor activity, colder temperatures, and moisture from snow or ice can mean hair is more matted or tangled than before,” which Lucky Puppy Grooming says “ultimately leads to skin irritation or May cause other skin conditions.”

Dull fur can cause irritation and discomfort for dogs, and pride veterinary referrals Says that That it can also lead to infection under the skin.

When grooming long-haired dogs in winter, it is recommended to keep the season in mind and not shave too little.

ASPCA Says that “Never shave your dog below the skin in winter.” Instead, you should “simply trim him to minimize sticking snowballs, salt crystals and deicing chemicals that can dry out his skin.”

Also Cornell University’s Canine Health Center Says that “A little bit of strategic trimming, like around their back end, can help prevent snowball accumulation.”

Small Door Veterinary Adds that “it is necessary to trim the skin between the toes, so that snow and ice do not accumulate in it.”

The ASPCA recommends short-haired dogs get “a high-collared coat or sweater or turtleneck with coverage from the base of the tail to the belly.”

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