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We all take steps to keep ourselves safe and warm during the winter months, and we need to do the same for our furry friends. Just because our dogs have fur, it doesn’t mean they are immune to the cold - they feel it just as much as we can! The darker nights can also pose hazards when walking your dog, especially near busy roads and highways. With some simple precautions, you can make sure all of you are happy and healthy this winter.
With the shorter days, many of us will be walking our dogs in the dark. Reflective collars and leads add another layer of safety, and make sure your pet can be seen by oncoming cars. Light-up leads and collars are an even better option, and give cyclists and other walkers in poorly lit streets a heads-up that your dog is there.
Short-haired dog breeds in particular really feel the cold. If you’re out and about with them in cold weather, a jacket or coat will help take the edge off the chill. It’s also important to keep your dogs inside during the winter, as their noses, paws and ears can easily get frostbite. After a walk in the cold, make sure your dog has somewhere warm and dry to rest. Despite their layer of fur, they still need protection from the frosty weather.
Open fires and candle flames pose a hazard for dogs, especially those with long hair and ears. The ends of their hair can easily catch alight, and they often won’t notice until it begins to burn their skin. Avoid these dangerous situations by keeping candles high up so they can’t brush against them, and put a guard around your fire if you don’t have a fireplace.
Antifreeze is a dangerous substance to have around the house if you have pets. The liquid has a sweet and enticing scent to animals, despite being a deadly poison. Keep bottles shut away, and if you spill any on the floor, clean immediately, making sure your dog doesn’t help you!
If you live near bodies of water that freeze over, like lakes and ponds, then take extra care when walking your dog here. Your dog won’t understand that thin ice will give way, and they can easily get into trouble. Keep them on an extendable lead or avoid these areas during particularly cold weather.