As winter approaches (though very slowly in some regions) it's time to consider new hazards your dog may face in winter. These 6 tips will help you and your dog enjoy a safe and happy winter:
Limit Exposure- Do not leave your dog outside for extended lengths of time without access to warmer shelter. While some breeds are meant to withstand the cold, most will want an escape from the frigid fields. Heated dog boxes are great for the field, making sure to trade out dogs at regular intervals and a dog house is great for the yard.
Get Vested- Wetland dogs are exposed to cold temperatures on a regular basis. A good hunting vest can help protect your dog from the elements by providing extra protection and locking in body heat.
Practice Foot Care- As we’ve said before, the feet are one of a hunting dog’s greatest assets. Consider purchasing dog boots to protect your pup from hazards that could be hiding in the snow and to hold in heat. Also, rinse your dog’s paws if they are exposed to areas that may have been salted to prevent ice. The salt can cause severe skin irritation and paw damage.
Monitor Consumption- While it is nearly impossible to watch your dog every moment in the field, do be mindful of them eating snow. In the field, dangerous objects could be hidden in the snow and in more populated areas chemicals could leak into snow that are not as easily detectable. Additionally, eating snow lowers internal body temperature, increasing the risk of hypothermia.
Mind the Anitfreeze- As we all now, this is a year-round risk, but is more prominent in the cold weather. Antifreeze has a sweet smell that invites animals, but even a small amount can be lethal to your dog. Keep the antifreeze safely out of reach at your home, and inspect any areas you might be traveling to in your hunting adventures before turning your dog loose. If you suspect your dog has ingested antifreeze, contact an emergency veterinarian.
Watch for Hypothermia- Like heat exhaustion, hypothermia can be hard to detect in dogs before it’s too late. If you notice excess shivering or shaking, it’s time to get your pup inside. If you suspect your dog has hypothermia, seek professional veterinary care immediately.
What other tips would you add to this list?