I’ve made no secret about winter being my favorite season and I’m happy to report that Wilkins loves it just as much as I do. He loves running around and playing in the snow even though it’s cold and his tiny little paw pads are prone to cracking from the icy temperatures. Fortunately, after living in cold climate for the last few years we’ve learned to recognize the potential cold weather risks to dogs and stock up on essentials like Baely’s Paw Shield to keep them safe.
I love taking the dogs with us to see Christmas light displays, go on holiday walks, and explore festive downtown districts but I know I have to be careful because of potential cold weather risks to dogs. There are some dog breeds that handle cold climates and freezing temperatures really well but other breeds, like my little guys, are highly susceptible to cold weather dangers. Even if your breed does handle the winter climate well there are risks that have nothing to do with your dog’s ability to handle cold temperatures.
Common Cold Weather Risks
Some of the risks potentially facing your dog during the cold temperatures and these long winter months include:
- Snow/Ice injured paws
- Salty sidewalks
- Dry/Itchy sensitive skin
- Getting lost
If you’re anything like me then you know that dogs aren’t just pets. They are super beloved members of the family and it’s important to take the necessary precautions to keep your pup safe, healthy, and happy this winter.
One of my biggest fears is freezing to death which is why I keep a ridiculous number of blankets in my car during the winter. You never know when you might break down during a blizzard and need them! The risk of freezing is no joke and just like us, our dogs can suffer from hypothermia if their temperature drops too low so it’s important to keep them comfortable and make sure they have places to warm up if they get too cold. If your dog does start suffering from hypothermia, at first you’ll notice him start shivering and acting listless or lethargic. If left untreated, there is a high risk that your dog could develop more severe symptoms or die from the cold.
I’m a total believer in dressing up your dogs and bringing them inside to live with the family. You can find tons of adorable dog sweaters and coats to keep them warm during winter walks and outside play time. Plus, dogs in clothes = adorable! My house is their house and I’m always sure to have plenty of extra blankets for them to snuggle under if they are cold. If you can, bring your dog inside to avoid cold temperatures and potential risks.
We also avoid long walks on particularly cold days even if it means a little less exercise that day. To help your dog get the activity he needs, you can always try playing indoor games together or playing hide-and-seek with their food or treats. I love using these food dispensing ball toys to keep Wilkins and Tebow occupied. I give them a smaller than normal breakfast so they know to play with their toy to get more food when they are hungry.
Snow/Ice injured paws
Even though dogs have thick paw pads and furry feet, snow and ice can still cause all sorts of issues. This seems to be the biggest annoyance for Tebow, our chihuahua. If he’s outside in the snow for too long I’ll notice him starting to pick up his paws one at a time and try to hobble around on 3-feet. As soon as I see it I scoop him up and carry him to avoid him hurting his feet.
You’ll notice your dog is struggling with sore or injured paws if he starts lifting his paws or limping. If that happens, snuggle your boy and check his paws for ice between the toes or cracked paw pads. Wilkins is prone to getting red or cracked paw pads if he spends too much time in the snow or walking on ice but I’ve found that Baely’s Paw Shield works great for soothing his sore paws. Baely’s uses a special blend of waxes and premium plant butters to help protect your dog’s paws from ice, snow, salt, and frost. Use code HONEYANDPINE50 to get 50% off your first order.
If you’ve never walked barefoot on a salty sidewalk consider yourself lucky because it’s a miserable crunchy experience. I made the mistake one time when I let my dog out without a leash and he refused to come back inside so I had to rush out there quickly (barefoot) to grab him. Salty sidewalks might make you less likely to slip and fall but yeah…wear shoes.
The hard salt can scratch and cut your dog’s sensitive paw pads so make sure you’re protecting their little feet any time you go outside. Baely’s Paw Shield uses a beeswax blend and unlike some of their competitors, Baely’s is made for hot and cold weather so it helps protect and heal dry calloused paws all year.
Where we live in Missouri, pretty much everywhere we go uses salt to manage ice on the sidewalk and roads but there are places that prefer to use chemical solutions instead. Many of these chemical de-icing solutions can be harmful to your dog if it is ingested (even if they just lick it off their paws after a walk).
Another major chemical hazard is antifreeze. During the winter, it commonly drips from your car’s radiator and leaves puddles on your driveway or in your garage. Dogs are attracted to the sweet taste of it and have been known to lap it up like a sweet dessert but it’s poisonous to them. Common signs of antifreeze poisoning include:
- excessive thirst
If your dog is showing any of those symptoms and you suspect he may have drank antifreeze, take him to an emergency vet right away.
Dry/Itchy sensitive skin and noses
Despite loving this time of year, I hate struggling with dry skin on my face, nose, and legs (in particular). It doesn’t seem to matter how much I moisturize, my skin gets drier, flakier, and itchier every winter. If you struggle with it too, just know we’re not alone. Our dogs face the same issues, especially on their noses.
To avoid dry itchy skin and noses on your pup use a moisturizing shampoo during bath time or skip an occasional bath so they can retain their coat’s natural oils. It’ll help keep their fur soft and the skin underneath nice and supple. I also recommend coating their noses, elbows, and knees with Baely’s Nose & Callus Hydrating Balm. This balm from Baely’s Paw Shield is made with natural human-grade ingredients so your dog isn’t going to get sick if he is a licker like my Wilkins.
With so much company coming and going during the holidays and my dog’s love of playing in the snow, I worry about him escaping during the winter months. If snow piles up or ice covers the ground, the familiar scents that help him find his way around can be covered up making it harder for him to find his way home. It’s common for dogs to get lost in the winter than any other time of the year so it’s on you to make sure he’s as safe as possible and can be returned home if he gets lost.
If your dog is microchipped, make sure the registration information is up to date. We had both of our dogs fitted with a microchip when they were young and it was the best decision! It only took a minute and they didn’t feel a thing so if you’ve been considering it, I highly recommend it. If your dog wears a collar make sure it is fitted and secure and that the tag information is current and has your best contact information on it.
This time of year is full of magic and wonder but it’s also full of potential dangers to us and our dogs. These cold weather risks need to be taken seriously to ensure the safety and well-being of your pups. Also, check out these common holiday plants that could make your dog sick during the winter holidays.
To protect your pups’ noses and paws this winter, stock up on
Use code HONEYANDPINE50 to get 50% off your first purchase at Baely’s!
Thank you to our sponsor, Baely’s Paw Shield, for providing us this opportunity to help you keep your dogs safe and help them help dogs!