Many dogs love snow, and most dog breeds can easily get out despite the wind and weather to a reasonable extent. Autumn and winter can therefore be a pleasant time to play in fallen leaves and snow. But it can get too cold to go for a walk, and in addition you have to be careful with your dog's paws when the salt is applied.
Your dog must stay inside in very cold weather
As a starting point, you can take your dog on a trip as usual on most days. But on the really cold days, you should skip the trip, as it can be potentially fatal for your dog to go out in bad freezing weather. How cold it needs to be before your dog needs to stay indoors depends on size and breed.
The large dog breeds with undercoat can cope with significantly lower temperatures than the small dog breeds without undercoat.
- Small dogs must stay inside if it is colder than -5 degrees
- Medium and large dogs must stay inside if it is colder than -10 degrees
- If the weather is wet, two minus degrees must be added to the current temperature.
You have to go by the temperature where the wind chill factor (how cold it feels, taking the wind into account) is taken into account. If you are in doubt as to whether it is too cold, it is better to let your dog feed in the garden than to take the chance.
Protect the foot depots against salt
Autumn is upon us, and it won't be long before rain and debris are replaced by snow and frost. You might not think about it, but when it's slushy and slippery outside, there is plenty of salt to keep us from slipping and falling. Unfortunately, salt is not suitable for foot depots. The salt can actually cause cracks and wounds which are very painful for the dog.
Therefore, when there is a risk that there has been salt, you should lubricate your dog's paws with paw wax or paw ointment, which protects against salt and which has the same non-slip effect. It doesn't take many seconds to lubricate your dog's paws, and you save your dog from getting painful cracks in the paw pads.
Protect the foot pads against clumping snow
It's not just salt that can be uncomfortable for your dog. Clumps of snow that settle between the treads can also. When the cold days approach, you can advantageously cut the hairs under your dog's paws. Finally, do not cut between the foot pads; only the hair that sticks out. After the walk, you should rinse your dog's paws with lukewarm water and apply another coat of paw wax. Then you have done everything you can to ensure that winter walks continue to be pleasant for your dog.
Should your dog still start to limp or lie down and bite his paw during a walk, you should immediately check for lumpy snow. Finally, do not pull on it, as it can be very painful if it gets stuck in the hairs. The best thing is to have a can of lukewarm water with you that you can pour over the paw to melt the snow.
Just like with humans, your dog is extra exposed to cold viruses and other infectious diseases in the cold weather. It is therefore important to ensure that your dog does not freeze. Small dog breeds can benefit from a jacket when they go out for a walk in cold weather. Dog breeds such as chihuahuas and other small breeds without undercoat are recommended to wear clothes when they need to be aired if the temperature is below 5 degrees.
If your dog is wet after a walk because it has snowed or rained, or because he has rolled over, you should always dry him well with a towel and offer him a place where it is warm, e.g. in front of the stove or in the warm living room. Do not leave your dog freezing in an unheated utility room.
Remember reflectors or a light
Winter is not only equal to cold, but also to darkness. Most people need to walk their dog before and after work, and during the winter months it will typically be dark at these times. Make sure that both you and your dog are seen when you go for a walk. Give your dog a dog collar or a dog harness that is easy to see, or attach a small light to the collar. Feel free to also use a reflective line. Reflective vests can be used with advantage for both you and your dog if, for example, you go for a walk in the countryside where there are no street lights.
If you are a car owner, you are probably familiar with antifreeze, which is the quick and easy solution to frost on the car windows. It is sprayed on and the ice melts, so you are free to stand around freezing with an ice scraper in hand.
Unfortunately, antifreeze tastes sweet and therefore attracts dogs. The liquid is dangerous for dogs to ingest and can potentially cause death. Preferably avoid using antifreeze where your dog will subsequently stay. Also, be sure to keep your dog away from driveways and garages where others may have used the liquid.
Jacob N. Masters | Uswithpets.dk