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5 Cold Weather Hazards to Watch Out for Your Dog (And Avoid Vet Visits!)

November 28, 2018

5 Cold Weather Hazards to Watch Out for Your Dog (And Avoid Vet Visits!)

Baby, it's cold outside...but that shouldn't keep you and your pup staying indoors all day! To keep your pup safe and out of trouble in the cold weather, here are some potential hazards to watch out for.

1. Salt on Sidewalks (Ice Melting Products)

The salt used to melt ice help keep us humans safe from slipping on an icy sidewalk or our cars from slipping on an icy road. However, it does more damage than good to our furry friends. It causes irritation and dryness, and can even lead to chemical burns on dog paws. Further, if swallowed, can cause irritation and distress to their stomachs.

WHAT TO DO: We recommend getting waterproof boots for your pup, especially if snow is common where you live. Here are some great options: low budget, fashionable winter plaid, sorel-esque, and street.

Otherwise, you should clean your dog's feet and stomach after each walk to remove ice, salt and chemicals. Check for cracks or redness on your dog's paws.

2. Antifreeze

Like coolant, antifreeze is a lethal poison for dogs and cats. What's more scary is that it does not take a significant amount to cause fatal damage. For example, less than three ounces of antifreeze will poison a medium-sized dog.

WHAT TO DO: Always be sure to clean up any spills from your vehicle. Furthermore, consider products that contain propylene glycol (like this one here) as opposed to than ethylene glycol, as propylene glycol is less toxic.

3. Hypothermia

Hypothermia occurs when body temperature falls below normal. A normal temperature for a dog or cat is 100.5 to 102.5 degrees Fahrenheit. Prolonged exposure to cold temperatures is simply what is the most common cause hypothermia.

WHAT TO DO: Or in this case it's more of what NOT to do. DO NOT leave your dog in the car. Cars can act as refrigerators that hold in the cold (just as it traps heat in the summer) and cause your pup to freeze to death.

If it's too cold for you, it's too cold for your pup! Perhaps a sweater or a jacket may help. Check out our clothing section.

4. Frostbite

High risk areas for frostbites include ears, nose, tip of the tail and ears. The skin  turns red and then grey.

WHAT TO DO: A nice warm bath is in order. Then, wrap your pup in a warm towel or blanket. Do not rub the area that you suspect has frostbite. It might help to keep your pup near a fireplace or space heaters - please do not leave your pup unattended.

5. Holiday Foods

All the yummy, rich holiday foods that are a real treat to humans, may not be the case for our pups. This is also a time when you may be entertaining more often. Please tell your guests in advance to NOT feed your pups. We've personally lost some dear friends on Instagram last holiday season due to the owner's guests sharing their table food with the dogs. Good intentions, but a fatal outcome. So don't wait for the accident to happen. Here are some common foods and ingredients that are toxic to dogs:

  • onions
  • garlic
  • grapes (this includes raisins!)
  • chocolate
  • alcohol
  • caffeine
...among many others! If you are not sure, do a simple search online!

    Other ways to help:

    • Cold weather as well as the dry heat indoors can lead to dry, itchy skin. Use a humidifier at home to help.
    • Washing too often can remove essential oils which won't help with the dry skin situation during the cold months. Try this all-natural dog deodorant in between bath times - you might find that you don't need to bathe your pup as frequently!
    • Make sure your dog has a warm place to sleep at night. Add a warm, fuzzy blanket to his or her bed, for some sweet, sunny dreams.
    • Apparently keeping warm requires burning extra energy! Which means it is totally fine to feed your pup a little more during the cold months. (You're welcome for getting extra treats from your humans now, pups!)