Winter is upon us in Northern Baltimore! Many breeds are made for the colder weather and enjoy time outside in the snow, but temperatures below 32 degrees Fahrenheit may be problematic for some dogs. While we know that breed, age, fitness level, and medical conditions impact how a dog can handle cold temperatures, if it’s too cold for you, it’s likely very cold for your dog, too! This article discusses cold weather safety for dogs.
The cold weather can be challenging for dogs with health issues. Arthritis, heart disease, obesity, or kidney disease can impact your dog’s ability to adjust to cold weather and minimize their mobility. Remember that old, young, sick, or thin dogs should not be left in cold cars or unattended in cold environments.
Did you know that ice, de-icers, and road salt can harm your dog’s feet? Inspecting your dog’s paws and pads daily for cracks, cuts, bleeding, and blisters is ideal. In addition, trimming the fur on the bottom of his or her paws helps prevent the snow and ice from accumulating, leading to pain for your dog. Also, focus on cold weather safety for dogs when traveling. For example, baby wipes are great for wiping the salt and other de-icing products off paws.
Booties are comfortable for wintertime in Northern Baltimore, Maryland. Although there are many options, ensure the booties are comfortable, flexible, and not too tight. Additionally, make sure you give your dog time to acclimate to their new footwear before taking them for a walk or playing outside. If you must go out for extended periods and your dog has a short coat, keep your pet warm and dry with different clothing.
Frostbite & Hypothermia
It’s critical to get your dog inside quickly if you notice he or she is shivering, whimpering, seems agitated or weak, or slows down or stops. These signs can indicate that he or she has hypothermia. Wrap your pet in a coat or warm blanket, place warm, towel-wrapped water bottles in your dog’s armpits and around the chest, and call your veterinarian immediately. Avoid using electric blankets, hair dryers, or heating pads to warm a dog with hypothermia. These heat sources have the possibility to cause burns.
Watch out for blue, red, white, or grey skin that stays cold, swelling, blisters, and painful ears, paws, or tail. Severe winter weather can lead to frostbite. If you believe your dog has frostbite, immediately relocate to a warm, dry area and call your vet immediately.
Additional Winter Safety Tips
- Remember that puppies and senior canines are more prone to cold environments and might require extra care to keep them safe during winter.
- Keep your pet away from anti-freeze spills and clean them up quickly because they can cause kidney failure with just a few licks.
- Use LED dog leashes/walking lights to keep your pet visible and safe.
- Winter is an ideal time to dog-proof your home. Make sure your dog’s bed is in a warm area in your home.
- Stay away from frozen lakes, ponds, and other bodies of water when walking your pet.
- Visit your vet if your dog’s mobility and comfort appear different in colder weather in Northern Baltimore.
HERE AT MOUNT CARMEL ANIMAL HOSPITAL, WE’LL TREAT YOUR PETS LIKE FAMILY!
Mount Carmel Animal Hospital has been serving the Northern Baltimore/Southern York community for over 30 years and is proud to be an independently operated, small animal practice committed to excellence in veterinary medicine and client service. From grooming to wellness services, along with Canine Life Skills Training Courses, and surgical procedures, we have the expertise that will best serve the needs of you and your pet. Contact us at 410-343-0200 and follow us on Facebook!