Winter Safety Tips for Your Dog

Winter Safety Tips for Dog

Brrrrr, it’s cold outside for us and it’s cold outside for our dogs too. Here are a few simple measures you can take to make sure your dog stays happy and healthy throughout the winter months.


Hair on the feet of long-haired dogs can form ice balls between their pads and toes. Keep them well trimmed, cutting the hair back so that it is even with the surface of the foot. If you do not feel comfortable trimming your pup’s feet, we can do it for you or ask your groomer.

Remember to clean your dog ‘s feet after a walk. During winter time , city streets are coated with anti-freeze/de-icer substances that can damage their paw pads or can be toxic if licked off. To clean their pads, use warm water and make sure you dry their feet afterwards. You can also apply a dog-safe soothing balm to keep their pads soft so they don’t crack.

Dog boots can protect their paws from the elements too. Different retailers offer dog boots or paw protectors that work well to keep your pup’s feet safe. Make sure to get the correct size though so they are comfortable and don’t fall off as the dog walks/runs. Do a “boot-check” throughout your walk. There’s nothing more frustrating than coming home with only 2 or 3 boots after a walk!


We can suffer from frostbite and dogs can too, especially on their delicate earflaps and tail tips. When the outside is extremely cold, it’s a good idea to keep dogs inside, with the exception of the heavy-coated northern breeds . Dogs with thin coats/ fur are more susceptible to frostbite than thicker coated dogs. The major sign of frostbite is skin that appears white or bluish. If this happens, please come in right away or dash to the ER clinic after-hours.


Time to have fun dressing them up with a warm doggy sweater or jacket.


Age is more than a number. Puppies and very old dogs have a hard time regulating their body temperature, so low temperatures can be very dangerous for them. Keep the oldsters and the puppies indoors as much as possible when the temperatures drop.


Ice which covers ponds, lakes or rivers can easily crack, and your dog and you could fall in. Slipping on ice can also lead to muscle strains and other injuries. So just avoid it.


A small amount of antifreeze, just a teaspoon, can cause kidney failure. Most antifreeze is green and sweet tasting but it can come in several different colors too. So watch where your dog is sniffing and licking. Be alert to the signs that your dog has ingested antifreeze, which include drooling, vomiting, seizures, excessive thirst, panting, lethargy and a drunken appearance. If you think your dog has ingested antifreeze, it’s important to get to a vet as soon as possible. Do not delay! Even if you keep your antifreeze safely tucked away, there is still a danger from residue in the streets where cars have parked.

- Dr. Veronica Verdoliva