Thursday, September 28, 2023

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Cold-weather safety tips for dogs

Cold, salt, antifreeze, snow, and ice can all be dangerous

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1. Time their walks to avoid the coldest parts of the day.

Your dog will need to go outside briefly to use the bathroom at their normal times, of course. But if you’re planning to take them on a longer walk, try to avoid the early morning and evening hours, which are likely to be colder. If it’s been a while since your dog has been outside in cold weather, you may want to start with short walks until their body gets used to the cooler temperature.

2. Protect their paws.

Make sure to keep the hair on your dog’s feet well-trimmed to prevent ice build-up. You should also wipe their paws off after a walk, in case they’ve come into contact with rock salt or other substances your neighbors may be using to de-ice the ground. And if it’s particularly cold or your dog has sensitive feet, they may need booties or paw protectors.

3. Watch out for antifreeze.

Even if you keep your own antifreeze sealed and on a high shelf (which you should), your dog can still come into contact with the toxic substance from residue in the street. Antifreeze is sweet and appealing to dogs, but it is extremely dangerous—even a teaspoon of it can cause life-threatening kidney problems. So keep a close eye on where your pup is licking.

4. Remove snow and ice carefully.

Snow can be great fun for dogs to play in, but it’s your job to make sure it doesn’t pose a hazard. If you’re able to, clear snow and ice from your roof so it doesn’t slide onto your pup when temperatures rise. If you have a fence around your yard, make sure there’s no snow piled up near it, as your excited dog might use that snow pile to jump over the fence and get loose.

5. Watch out for signs of frostbite and hypothermia.

Signs of frostbite include skin that is pale, grey, or unusually hard. Signs of hypothermia include excessive shivering, cold ears and feet, and lethargy. If your dog is displaying these signs, get him inside and warm him up—and call your vet if his condition doesn’t improve.


The Lansing Journal
The Lansing Journal
The Lansing Journal publishes news releases from state, county, and local officials who provide information that impacts local community life. The particular contributor of each post is indicated in the byline.