Winter can be a nice change from the hot summer walks, but it can also bring a few dangers that we all need to look out for, as well as all the mud. 


 


Winter walks can be picturesque but cold winter walks also mean we need to be prepared, not only for what we are wearing but potential dangers along the way too. 


 


Antifreeze


This can be extremely dangerous to dogs; it smells sweet and could be irresistible to your dog’s nose, so it is very important to keep it out of reach. Some antifreeze may leak from car radiators or be spilt when refilling the screen wash so can be found on surfaces where cars are parked. If you see anything by your car or you spill some ensure you clean it up and keep your dogs away. 


 


If antifreeze is ingested it can cause damage to the kidneys and death, even after a small amount has been ingested. If you suspect your dog has licked or been in contact with antifreeze, please consult your vet immediately. If your dog walks through some antifreeze, ensure you wash down their paws to avoid them licking. 


 


Frostbite


With icy and snowy walks, it is important to keep a close eye on your dog’s paws as snow and ice can build up on the fur between your dogs’ pads. Not only is this uncomfortable for your dog but can also cause frostbite. If you dog slows down, starts lifting their paws or tries to lick them when out then this could be a sign that they have ice building up. 


 


It’s important to warm up your dog’s paws slowly to help reduce the ice and keep a close eye on your dog in extreme weather. If they suffer from the cold, ensure they have a warm coat and limit their time in the extreme weather to avoid frostbite. 


 


Frozen lakes


If your dog is a lover of swimming and often runs into the nearest lake it might be worth keeping them close as some lakes might have frozen over, and your dog could risk breaking the ice and falling in. If you know of any lakes nearby keep your dog on a lead to avoid any accidents. If your dog does fall through the ice it is important not to follow them as the ice will probably break under your weight too. Grab a stick or a lead for them to hold on to and encourage them to swim to you. Get them warm as soon as you can to avoid hyperthermia. 


 


Road grit and ice 


With winter comes ice, snow and rain which can cause slippery surfaces for both you and your dog. Roads are often gritted, and recently gritted roads can be harmful for our dogs. Grit can get stuck in their paws, causing soreness, redness or cracking and may contain salt or other chemicals that could cause further irritation. To avoid your dog licking the salt from their paws ensure you wash their paws thoroughly after walks where you have been around gritted roads. 


 


 


Dark mornings and nights


Along with the cold weather we will also have the dark morning and evenings. Be save and be seen, wear reflective clothing both for yourself and your dog so motorists can see you, especially in villages or roads which have no lighting. 


 


Ensure your dog has good recall before letting them off the lead and ensure they can be seen at night with collars that light up. Always inform someone of where you are going, how long you will be and carry a phone with you too. 

Posted: January 8, 2021