The Top 5 Winter Dangers for Dogs
Summer can be ruff on our furry friends—sizzling sidewalks burn their paws, high temps cause them to overheat, and pesticides and lawn chemicals can make them sick. But the cold-weather months have their fair share of challenges, too. Here are five of the top dangers for your dog in winter (and what to do about them).
1. Snowmelt Chemicals, Salt and De-Icers
Anyone who lives in an environment where snow and salt are common during the winter months is probably familiar with the rock salt and de-icing formulas that are applied to streets and sidewalks to help melt winter weather. And while they’re great at making sure roads aren’t buried in feet of snow and sidewalks don’t feel like an ice skating rink, they can pose a real risk to our canine companions. That’s because ice-melting chemicals often contain harmful ingredients like sodium chloride, calcium chloride, potassium chloride and magnesium chloride.
When ingested by dogs—either by eating snow from the ground or licking their paws after returning from a walk—these chemicals can result in nasty side effects like burns to their tongue and throat, vomiting and diarrhea, excessive thirst, and tremors and seizures. Simply being exposed to these chemicals can also cause burns to their paw pads or eye and skin irritation.
To avoid the dangers that snowmelt chemicals pose to pups, never let your dog eat snow or salt from the road or sidewalk. If you plan to salt your own driveway and the sidewalks in front of your house, look for a formula that’s specifically designed to be pet-safe. It’s also smart to put on a pair of dog boots before heading outside, so de-icers don’t come into contact with their sensitive paws in the first place! Our Outdoor Dog Boot Leggings are made with waterproof rubber booties that protect Fido’s feet from chemicals, cold surfaces and other outdoor dangers. Plus, they connect together over the back, so you’ll never lose a dog boot again while walking in a winter wonderland!
2. Seasonal Allergens
Although you don’t have to contend with grass, ragweed and other summer allergens, winter comes with its own set of irritants that can be pesky for your pooch. Unlike summer allergies—which typically come from the outdoors—winter dog allergies are typically found inside, and consist of things like dust mites and mold. And since dogs often spend more time indoors when it’s fur-eezing outside, they’re exposed to these allergens on a more regular basis, causing symptoms like sneezing, runny eyes, itchy skin and irritated paws.
To keep your dog from licking their paws, try our Indoor Grippy Sock Leggings. Not only do they help dogs get a grip on slippery floors, but they also prevent your dog from causing further paw irritation (or even an infection),
It’s also helpful to regularly clean floors and other surfaces to remove allergens, change out your air filters, and try to keep indoor humidity levels below 40% so mold doesn’t have a chance to flourish.
3. Icy Sidewalks
Slippery outdoor surfaces present a challenge to even the youngest and most agile of canines, but can be especially daunting—and dangerous—for older pups who have a hard time getting around or gaining traction on the ground. To prevent your dog from falling and pulling a muscle, injuring a ligament or worse, make sure they’re wearing a pair of no-slip rubber dog boots like our NEW Deluxe Easy-On Boot Leggings. Made from soft and flexible TPE material that contours to your dog’s paw shape, these waterproof boots are made to withstand cold down to -40F and provide a more natural ground feel for your dog in an attempt to give them better traction on icy surfaces.
4. Cracked Paws
Frigid temps and harsh snowmelt chemicals can wreak havoc on your pooch’s paw pads, causing them to dry out, blister, crack and bleed in the winter months (kind of like chapped lips for humans!). Not only is this painful and irritating for your furry friend, but it can also lead to a nasty infection that needs to be treated by your vet.
Prevent chapped paws by putting on a pair of outdoor dog boots, so your pup’s feet don’t come into contact with snow, ice and salt that strip away moisture. You can also apply a moisturizing balm or Vaseline to their paw pads to keep them hydrated and keep the fur between their toes clipped short so snow doesn’t build up and dry out their feet.
While snowmelt chemicals can pose a risk to your pup and icy sidewalks are a slippery hazard, freezing temps alone are a significant danger to your dog during the winter months—especially when the wind chill makes it feel even colder! Mild hypothermia in dogs starts to set in when their temperature drops below 99F (their typical body temperature is between 101 and 102.5F) and can include symptoms like shivering, increased heart rate and breathing, lethargy, dilated pupils, and pale gums. Although all dogs are at risk of suffering from hypothermia, it’s especially dangerous for senior dogs and puppies, small breeds, and pups with short coats.
To protect them from the elements and keep your canine cozy, make sure they’re completely dry before heading outside and bundle them up in weatherproof layers. This includes a dog coat or sweater, a warm hat to cover their head, and dog boots to keep their feet nice and toasty. For total head-to-tail protection, try our Deluxe Puffer Coat and Attachable Coat Leggings to create a full snowsuit on the coldest of days. And don’t forget to add our Liner Socks for an extra layer of insulation underneath your dog boot leggings!