Happy woman with Bernese mountain dog outside during snowfall.

One thing that’s certain in Ontario: winter is bound to be cold. With the harsh weather comes special pet care concerns as well. Parkside Animal Hospital has all the best tips for winter safety for dogs. Read on to keep your pet healthy and warm this season.

Winter Pet Dangers

Pet safety is a serious topic no matter the time of year. Beyond the normal things to watch out for as a pet parent, though, winter brings some special considerations.

Obviously the cold itself is a concern. While your pet is wearing a fur coat, animals can still suffer from hypothermia. In particular, very young and very old pets can have trouble staying warm as can those with very short coats or underlying medical issues. Symptoms of hypothermia in dogs can include sluggishness, paleness, and increased heart rate and respirations.

Antifreeze toxicity is always a concern for pets as well. This sweet-tasting fluid can result in acute kidney failure after the ingestion of even a very small amount.

Ice can also cause trouble. Slippery surfaces and lowered traction can lead to accidents, and broken ice and hardened snow can be tough on paws. Ice melt products can also be irritating to skin and paws, and can be toxic if ingested. 

Winter Safety for Dogs

Keeping your pet safe this winter is our priority, no matter how low the mercury drops. If you have concerns about your dog, please don’t hesitate to contact us to discuss them. We are always more than happy to help in any way when it comes to pet care. 

Some of our top tips for winter safety for dogs include:

  • Consider allowing outdoor pets to come inside on the coldest days
  • Be sure that dogs are allowed to come inside when they need to or provide a warm location for them to shelter
  • Keep your pup active indoors
  • Do not shave your pet during the winter months
  • Consider keeping short-haired animals warm with sweaters, coats, and the like
  • Use caution when combining pets and things like space heaters
  • Wipe your pet down after coming in from outdoors to remove irritants like rock salt and ice
  • Keep the fur between the paw pads trimmed to prevent trapping of ice and provide better traction
  • Protect tender paws from the ice with products like Musher’s Secret and well-fitted boots
  • Keep your eyes open for antifreeze on the ground
  • Use pet-friendly versions of potential toxins such as ice melt and antifreeze
  • Be sure your pet has a good nutrition program in place; extra calories may be needed for pets that spend significant time outdoors
  • Contact us to schedule a wellness check so that we can help be sure that they are winter-ready

Winter, while cold, can be an incredibly beautiful time of year. A little extra effort can help be sure that your pet has a magical season of snow and fun this year.