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Keep your dog safe from winter hazards

American Kennel Club on

Published in Cats & Dogs News

The American Kennel Club highlights a few things that dog owners should be careful of in frigid weather:

• Beware of antifreeze (ethylene glycol). Antifreeze is a liquid that is added to a car’s radiator to prevent freezing. It is extremely toxic and can be deadly even in small amounts. It tastes sweet but can cause severe kidney damage and failure. Seek veterinary care IMMEDIATELY if you suspect that your dog has ingested some of it.

• Wipe off paws before coming inside the house. The snow- and ice-melting products used on sidewalks, driveways and roads are among the biggest threats to your dog’s paw pads. Ice-melting products aren’t just a threat to feet. If your dog licks his paws or gets into a container of de-icer, ingestion may lead to digestive system upset, causing drooling, vomiting or diarrhea. To prevent your dog from ingesting de-icer and to reduce irritation to his paw pads, wipe off his paws with a warm, damp towel immediately after coming in, or dunk them in a small bucket of water and thoroughly dry his paws. A pair of well-fitted dog boots is the best protection from the elements.

• Be aware of what your pet can tolerate and is accustomed to. Young, old, small/toy and health-compromised pets have a lower tolerance for very cold weather, especially with sudden weather changes. Consider well-fitted sweaters for dogs that may need them (older dogs, smaller dogs, dogs with recent haircuts, etc.). Use sweaters, boots and coats to provide added warmth for dogs that may need it, but never leave them on your dog unattended.


• Don’t leave pets unattended outdoors for an extended time. Hypothermia is a real concern because it slowly creeps up and can be life-threatening. If a dog must be outside for any period of time, make sure there is adequate protection from the cold. Have their beds elevated off the ground, and make sure there is good bedding insulation such as straw or cedar shavings.

• Pets get lost in winter more than any other time of year. After heavy snowfalls, dogs can become disoriented due to loss of landmarks or boundaries, and inability to smell certain scents. Make sure they are in a secure area or on a leash. Also make sure your pet is microchipped.

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