With the forecast of dropping temperatures and the possibility of snow in some areas, it is time to think about the safety of our four legged friends. Just as we might wrap up in the cold weather, our dogs need to be ready for the weather change too.
1. Old/young or short haired dogs may benefit from a winter coat. A high visibility coat would be an extra bonus if you walk out in the dark as your dog would be seen ( and one for yourself won’t be a bad idea!)
2. Let your dogs coat grow! This may require a little more grooming on your part but well worth it.
3. Make sure your dog is wearing a collar with an id tag when outside ( The Control of Dogs Order 1992 ) and also make sure it is micro chipped. It is a good idea to regularly check that your details are up to date. As of 6th April 2016 every dog must be micro chipped by the keeper of that dog.
4. After walking, wipe your dogs feet, legs and under its tummy and dry thoroughly. The salt and grit from the roads can be an irritant and cause sore feet. If you have been out in the snow, check between the toes for compacted snow/ice. This can be very painful particularly for long haired dogs.
5. Winter weather often brings fog or reduced visibility. Make sure you are confident that your dog has good recall if it is off the lead as you may lose sight of each other. If you find yourself in snowy weather, keep your dog on a lead. Snow can disorientate and your dog may become lost.
6. Do not let your dog walk on frozen ponds/rivers. The ice may not be as thick as you think. If they do fall in, never be tempted to go in after them. Encourage them to swim back to you. You may need to use something like a branch to try and hook under their collar to get them out. If all else fails, call emergency services.
7. At this time of year antifreeze is a popular product but it is highly poisonous for dogs. Keep it out of reach and remember to clear up any spillages straight away.
8. Never leave your dog in a car in cold weather. Just as temperatures rise in hot weather, so can temperatures drop in cold weather.
9. Some dogs can actually be reluctant to go out in bad weather. Make sure they have plenty of opportunities to go to the loo but don’t force them outside. They do still need exercise but this can be modified for a while. Perhaps provide plenty of toys to play with indoors or even a game of hide and seek with treats.
10. If your dog isn’t getting as much exercise as normal, you may want to think about adjusting their daily food intake.