Updated: Sep 12, 2020
At least here in the PNW winter has shown herself. Snow, freezing rain, cold temps; the works. There are a few tips to keep your dog happy and healthy during this time of year.
Be sure any ice melting product you use is safe for pets, even if you don't have any. These substances can get on their paws and then they lick them off getting them sick, and can cause burns on their skin. You can find tons of the pet safe options online and in stores. There are also cheap booties you can train your dog to wear if you do lots of city walking to help keep this down as well. There's also paw waxes that help make a barrier between their feet and the snow/cold. Always towel your pet off when you get home, baby wipes on their feet and legs can help get the road salts off. Do not let them drink from the puddles along your walk either, these can have tons of toxins and chemicals in them.
Dogs run warmer than us, between 101 and 102, so they are a bit better in cold temperatures. Take your dog's coat and breed into account when taking them out in the cold and snow. A husky will love it and not need any kind of jacket. But my German Shorthairs, while they love the snow a lot, get a jacket on. Always bring towels to dry them off, a wet dog this time of year is a cold dog. Know the symptoms of hypothermia and how to help them on route to the vet. Your dog's heart rate and breathing will slow down. This is a true emergency as this condition left untreated can cause lasting neurological issues, heart problems, kidney failure, frostbite and even death. Some of the early signs to look out for are: Intense shivering that stops despite not being warmed up, acting sleepy or lethargic, they are cold to the touch, temp and heart rate are below normal (learn how to feel your dogs femoral pulse), dilated pupils, pale or blue gums or tongue, trouble walking or breathing, disorientation or coma. Most often this does not happen from a walk. It happens when dogs who are not equipped for the cold are left out in garages, dog houses, or just outside in the elements. So how can you get them stable? Remove them from the cold and get them somewhere warm, dry them as thoroughly as you can, wrap them in a blanket, use hot water bottles or pads (but always put a barrier between your pet and the heat, even long coated dogs), allow them to drink warm (not hot) fluids such as warmed bone broth, check their temp. If it is below 95 F they can be in real trouble, call your vet. If it is between 95 and 101 F keep checking it while trying to warm them.
Use some common sense. Do you have a malamute that grew up in the cold north? Well they are probably a little tougher than the chihuahua that lived in New Mexico in a snow spell. Let them enjoy and have fun, but be smart about it. As always, contact us with any questions you have we're here to help
For the Dogs,