Despite warmer-than-normal winter temperatures this season, winter is still coming, with periods of snow and cold temperatures predicted across North America by the National Weather Service and Environment Canada.
Here are three tips for dog owners to help keep their pets winter safe:
1. Chemical Deicers Can Be Toxic
While more people then ever are using pet-friendly deicers these days, dangerous chemical deicers remain widely used on sidewalks and streets, and have varying degrees of toxicity for dogs, depending on the ingredients and amounts ingested.
Chemical deicers containing antifreeze ethylene glycol are a deadly poison for dogs. As a standard deicing agent found in antifreeze and winter windshield washer fluid, ethylene glycol has a sweet taste that may dogs find irresistible - and it only takes a small amount to cause irreparable kidney damage or even failure, leading to death.
After any exposure to chemical deicers, wipe off your dog's feet with a damp towel. When using chemical deicers, read the product labels carefully and follow all recommended precautions.
2. Protect Against Frostbite
Paws, ears, and tails - like people's hands, ears, and faces - are susceptible to frostbite. To protect paws, you can easily find dog boots in a wide variety of styles online and in pet stores. In addition to helping the paws stay clean, warm and dry, dog boots often come with soles, which provide added traction in icy conditions.
If your dog doesn't like boots (or needs time to get used to them), be sure to remove any caked ice and snow from your dog's paws as soon as possible. Also keep your dog's nails trimmed. Long nails force the toes to splay (spread apart), which increases the risk that snow or ice will accumulate between the pads.
Frostbitten skin may appear reddish, grayish, bluish, or white in color. If you suspect your dog has frostbite,seek veterinary care immediately.
3. Wind Chill Can Be Deadly
While some breeds are built better than others to withstand the cold, prolonged exposure to frigid temperatures and wind chill can cause hypothermia, which, when severe enough, can lead to death. Dog jackets can help dogs stay warm in winter weather, but don't wait until your dog starts shivering before realizing it's time to head back!
If you have any questions or concerns, you can always visit or call us – we want to ensure the best possible care for not only your pets but the whole family as well.
Abbotsford Animal Hospital - Caring for Pets for People in York Region, Aurora, Newmarket, King City, Richmond Hill and the GTA.
Lifelearn Animal Health