Winter Safety

Minneapolis has had its first few snowfalls and temperatures are dropping. Along with the cold weather comes new safety concerns for our dogs. Here are a few to be aware of so you can enjoy the outdoors with your furry friend.dog-winter-snow-by-ktylerconk

Hypothermia

Dogs with short coats and little body fat are especially susceptible to hypothermia. Buy a coat for your pup if needed, and keep his outdoor time to a minimum. Keep an eye out for beginning signs of hypothermia, which include shivering, weakness, and drowsiness. If the hypothermia progresses, it can lead to muscle stiffness, difficulty breathing, dilated pupils, an inaudible heart beat, and eventually a coma.

If you notice any of these signs in your dog, get him somewhere warm immediately and wrap him in blankets. Put a towel around a hot water bottle and place it on his abdomen. Once you’ve begun warming your dog, get him to the vet immediately. Read here for more tips on what to do if your dog has hypothermia.

Frostbite

Another thing to look out for in the winter is frostbite. This often occurs on the tips of the ears and tail. When a dog is cold his body pulls blood to his organs, leaving the extremities with less blood to keep them warm. If the tissue freezes, it dies and frostbite occurs.

If your pet gets frostbite, soak the area in warm water (never hot water), and then dry it thoroughly. Never rub the affected area or allow it to be exposed to the cold after it’s warmed up. Like with hypothermia, take him to the vet immediately. Click here for more info on frostbite.

Antifreeze

Antifreeze often drips from cars, and leaves tasty puddles for pups to lap up. Despite it’s deceptively delicious flavor, if a dog ingests antifreeze it can be fatal.  Less than 3 oz can poison a medium size dog. The chemicals in antifreeze affect the brain, kidney, and liver. Signs that your dog may have gotten into some antifreeze include drunken like behavior, diarrhea, rapid heart beat, excessive urination, seizures, and even a coma. For more information on how to treat dogs who have been poisoned, click here.

dog-snow-bootiesSalt and Chemicals

Your dog’s paws can easily become cracked and irritated in the winter when they come in contact with salt and other chemicals on our roads. There are a few ways to solve this problem. One is using dog boots. Another is using Musher’s Secret, a barrier wax that both protects and soothes the paw pads. Both are available right here at Ollu.

Another way these substances can cause harm is that dogs may also lick them off their feet and ingest them. This can lead to stomach aches and diarrhea. It is easily prevented, however, by wiping their feet thoroughly after they’ve been outdoors.

Now that you know how to keep your dog safe this winter, get out there and enjoy the snow!

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