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Outdoor Winter Pet Hazards

Published on January 4th, 2016

Snow_dogExposure to extreme winter temperatures, snow, and chemicals can be harmful to pets. Learn the risks that your pet faces and arm yourself with tips for a safe winter season. Also check out our tips to help winter-proof your dog’s paws.

Toxic Salt And De-Icers

Do you take your boots off before entering the home? Imagine the mess that will appear on your floor after you track in snow and salt chunks. Your pets also bring home snowballs on their legs and paws and have most likely stepped in salted areas. Your dog may instinctively start to lick his paws, but beware that the chemicals found in salt and de-icers can be toxic when ingested.

  • Use pet-friendly de-icers on your own property
  • Stay away from heavily treated roads or sidewalks
  • Do not let your dog eat slush or drink puddles
  • Keep pets away from poisonous antifreeze
  • Wash your dog’s paws in warm water after a walk

Freezing Temps

Protect your pet from frostbite, hyperthermia, shivering, and anxiety when walking or playing outside this winter. You may have to adjust your walks according to the weather. If you typically take long walks, consider taking several shorter walks if the weather is unbearable.

  • Keep your pet dry with an umbrella or a waterproof jacket
  • Take frequent and short walks
  • Elderly and infant pets are most vulnerable to cold weather
  • Provide a dry, draft free outdoor shelter
  • Never leave your pet alone in a car

Paw Prep

Regular nail trimming is important all year round, but if nails grow too long in the winter, it can be especially difficult to get traction when walking on snow and ice. If your dog has long hair, you will want to trim the hair between paw pads to prevent painful ice balls from accumulating on their paws.

  • Use a beard trimmer with a plastic guard to groom paws
  • Regularly trim nails
  • Inspect paws for signs of dryness or injury
  • Remove ice balls from paws with a warm washcloth

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