{This post may contain affiliate links. This means we may make a small commission at no extra cost to you. This website is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases. We only recommend products that we believe will be of value to our followers. Click HERE to see our disclosure for details.}

I heard all of the yelling but had no idea what I was about to stumble upon.  I couldn’t believe my eyes, there just off the shore of the lake, a dog was struggling to get back on the ice.  He had been running around and fell through the ice.  Luckily his owner was not alone and had help to get him back to shore safely.  This could have been a lot worse!  If he would have been out just a bit further, the outcome might have been different.  Luckily for him and his family, this story had a happy ending.

It’s great to get out and enjoy the winter with your dog but along with the winter comes dangers that we don’t normally think of.  Before going out with your dog, take some time to read our winter safety tips for your dog so you can keep your furry best friend safe and happy!

Winter Safety Tips For Your Dog

1. Watch Out For Thin Ice

This is such a great concern in the winter.  Dogs love to run around and play, they don’t realize that when they are on ice that it could break.  When you are around a pond or a lake, keep your dog on a leash unless you know for sure that the ice is frozen solid and safe.  If your dog does happen to fall through the ice in deep water, do NOT go onto the ice yourself.  Ice that is not strong enough to hold the weight of your dog, will not be strong enough to hold you.  Call 911 right away.  Stay calm, if you panic your dog will panic.  Talk calmly to your dog until help arrives.

2. Stay Off Of The Ice

Even without the fear of falling through the ice, ice itself can be dangerous for us and our dogs.  There are times in the winter that the conditions are very icy and slippery.  It’s hard for us to walk and hard for our dogs too.  They may still want to run around but running on ice can be cause for concern.  If your dog slips on the ice he could seriously injure himself, sometimes needing surgery.  If the conditions are icy and you need to take your dog out, put him on a leash so that you can make sure that he doesn’t run and slip.

3.  Be Careful Of Paw Pads Injuries

A very common winter injury for dogs is cut paw pads.  They can do this on hard crusty snow or on sharp pieces of ice.  There are paw balms that you can use if your dog cuts his paw pad, our favorite is Musher’s Secret Pet Paw Protection Wax .  Cut paw pads can be quite painful for your dog and hard to heel since he is walking on the cut.  To prevent cuts on your dog’s paw pads, using a pair of dog boots works well.  Our favorite is the PETLESO Dog Waterproof Boots Pet Shoes.  They fit securely on your dog’s feet, they have a good tread and they are waterproof.  

Dog Planner Management Binder

4. Keep Feet Trimmed

For coated breeds, the hair can grow between the toes and pads of the dog’s feet.  When the snow is wet and packy, it will stick to this hair.  This can be quite uncomfortable for your dog when he is trying to run around and play.  You will see him laying down and trying to get the snow out from between his toes.  To prevent this from happening, keep the hair between his toes and on the pads of his feet trimmed short.  If he still collects snow between his toes, even with his feet being trimmed, dog boots will do the trick.  You will find that indoor flooring will also be less slippery for him if the hair on the bottom of his feet is kept trimmed short.

Free Dog Training Workshop

5.  Limit Time Outside

Some dogs don’t mind the cold, they would stay out all day and play if they could.  When the temperature and wind chill get too low, though, they run the risk of frost bite.  The most common areas for dogs to get frost bite is their ears, their tail and their toes.  When the temperatures and wind chill are bitter cold, keep your dog’s outdoor play sessions short.  Some medical conditions such as diabetes, heart disease or a condition that affects circulation could cause frost bite to set in faster, so be extra cautious with these dogs.

The symptoms of frost bite include the skin looking pale, a bluish color, due to lack of blood flow.  The area can be painful for the dog and feel very cold and brittle.  Once the body part is warmed up, it turns red, swells and becomes very painful.  If you suspect that your dog has frost bite, seek veterinarian care.

6.  Dress Them For The Weather

If your dog is used to being in a warm house it can take a while for them to get used to being outside in the cold.  Wearing a dog jacket and boots can help to keep them warm.  Our favorite cold weather dog jacket is the Weatherbeata Parka.  Weatherbeata makes horse blankets as well.  These dog jackets are built to keep your dog warm and they are very durable.  Wearing a jacket and dog boots will help to protect your dog from the cold and keep him warm.  

         7.  Watch Out For Antifreeze

Antifreeze is a big concern in the winter.  As little as one teaspoon of antifreeze can be dangerous for your dog and cause kidney failure.  Always be on the look out for antifreeze where cars have been parked.  Dogs can lick the ground where antifreeze has leaked and become very ill.  If you suspect that your dog has ingested antifreeze, seek veterinarian care immediately.  The signs to watch for are drooling, excessive thirst, panting, and a lack of energy.  They may appear to be drunk and can also have seizures.

8.  Watch Out For Traps/Snares

If you are hiking, skiing or snow shoeing through the woods with your dog off leash, always make sure that you can see them.  If possible, stick to areas where you know that there are no traps and snares but even so, always be prepared!  Have a backpack with a pair of wire cutters on you at all times when you are in the woods.  Being prepared could save your dog’s life!  This is not just something to be cautious about in the winter.  Look up information for your local trapping seasons and stick to the trails, especially during trapping season.

         9.  Be Cautious Of Road Salt

Road salt is not only hard on your dog’s paws, it can also be harmful to them if they ingest it.  If you are out walking your dog on sidewalks or streets that have been salted, wash your dog’s paws when you get home.  Road salt can cause your dog’s paw pads to dry and crack open.  Washing your dog’s paws and applying paw balm will help to keep your dog’s paws from being sore.  Another option is to wear dog boots on your dog when walking in salted areas.

10.  Consider Your Dog’s Age

Very young and very old dogs can have a harder time regulating their body temperature.  When it’s bitter cold outside, dress your puppy or senior dog in a jacket to help them stay warm.  Limit their time outdoors in the cold, only potty breaks and short walks or play sessions outside.

When keeping these safety tips in mind, winter can be a fun time of the year.  Check out our article, The 5 Best Winter Sports For You And Your Dog for some ideas of activities that  you can do with your dog this winter.  Stay safe and have fun!

We would love to hear from you.  Tell us some of your winter safety tips in the comments below.

Similar Posts