According to weather reports, we are set to have more snow across the UK over the Easter bank holiday. Some of you dog owners may not mind the cold, snowy weather, but for others it can be an absolute nightmare!
There’s no reason why your dog should not be allowed to enjoy the snow with you, providing that you take good care of them and pay a little extra attention to their needs during this relatively rare weather phenomenon. Is it snowing in your area? Keen to get out there with your dog and enjoy it? Read our Doggie Day Camp top tips on having fun and staying safe in the snow with your dog.
“Do I, Don’t I?”
While many dogs enjoy the snow, some dogs have an extreme aversion to the cold, wet weather and will be keen to avoid going out in the snow as much as possible. If your dog is genuinely not keen to go out in the snow and doesn’t enjoy being outside for prolonged periods of time, don’t force them. It won’t make them happy, and will only strengthen their dislike for these type of weather conditions.
Watch their temperature..
If your dog is on the slender side, has a thin coat or feels the cold easily, it is especially important to make sure they can maintain their body temperature at a comfortable level when playing in the snow. Often, the vigorous activity that your dog will enjoy jumping through flurries and joining in with your games will take care of this, but make sure that they don’t get worn out and then begin to chill when they take a break while you are still playing. If your dog normally wears a warm coat when outdoors in the cold weather, make sure that it is weatherproof and waterproof. A dog coat that is wet with snow lying next to your dog’s skin will cool them down, rather than warm them up.
Be careful of their paws
Snow can compact between the pads of the paws, forming lumps of ice that can lead to chilblains and ice burns if left to build up. Similarly, dogs with very hairy legs and stomachs will be prone to picking up chunks of snow that build up and become icy on the longer hair of their legs and other areas that are close to the ground. Spreading a barrier cream or Vaseline between the pads of the paws can help to stop them holding on to snow and ice, and increase your dog’s comfort. You can even buy special dog boots to guard against this in bad weather! When you come back inside with your dog, check their paws carefully for any injuries from objects hidden under the surface of the snow, and remove any ice and dry them off.
Snow and ice isn’t the only thing to be careful of when walking in the snow. Rock salt (the grit being spread to help de-ice the roads) is a mix of sodium chloride and grit. This rock salt can be very dangerous to your pets. Make sure their paws are wiped down to ensure they don’t lick and swallow the grit, but also because it can burn the skin on their paws.
Dry them off
It is also important to dry off the rest of your dog’s coat, and make sure they are not left wet and icy when they come back into the house. Either rough-dry them and leave them somewhere warm, or dry them thoroughly with towels and a hairdryer!
Watch out for hazards
Keep an eye out for other hazards, such as objects buried under the snow and unsuitable surfaces for walking on. Snow is good at disguising a range of hazards, both at floor level and higher up, so take care.
Don’t lose your dog!
Keep your dog in sight of you at all times when out in the snow, and remember a white or light coloured dog that normally stands out against any background will suddenly find themselves camouflaged! It is important to know where your dog is when out in heavy snow, as it is easy to become disoriented if snow is falling and your dog gets lost or goes off in the wrong direction.
Have fun in the snow, but don’t let your dog get overtired, cold or dehydrated. Don’t encourage your dog to eat the snow, and keep fresh water on hand in case they need a drink.
Have a good time, and stay safe! And if you have any questions, contact Doggie Day Camp at firstname.lastname@example.org