Winter is in full swing and, by now, you’ve probably already gotten your home ready for winter.
You’ve been busy sealing your doors and windows to keep the cold out, making sure the wall
space around water pipes is insulated, and clearing out your gutters. It’s important work
because winterizing your home can prevent serious structural damage and help keep heating
costs under control. However, if you’re a dog owner you may not realize that you need to
winterize for your canine companion as well. There are many ways a dog who likes to get into
things, or an old one who’s lost his agility, can be injured both inside and outside your house
unless you pay attention to details and take steps to protect him.
When the weather turns really cold, dogs start looking for warm places to settle down for naps.
The warmest parts of your house are near space heaters, in front of the fireplace, or next to
your furnace. Unfortunately, it can be easy for a misplaced tail or paw to get too close to the
heat source and get burned, or catch on fire. Try creating a “buffer zone” that allows your pet to
enjoy the warmth without risking serious injury. Be sure that there are no open heating coils or
that your fireplace doors aren’t open. If you have an older model space heater, consider
replacing it with a newer brand, one that shuts off automatically if it gets too hot or is overturned.
Too much salt
For many people, laying down some salt is a good way to remove snow and ice. It’s also a
potential health risk to your pooch. Dogs that lick salt off their paws can get very sick, or suffer
injury if a piece of salt gets stuck between their paw pads. Take care to gently wipe their paws
off with a wet cloth. If this gets to be too much of a burden (it certainly could be with dogs who
have to go out a lot), consider switching to a safer brand of salt. Fortunately, there are several
alternatives that have been developed in cooperation with veterinarians. Safe Paw Ice Melter
and Morton Safe-T-Pet are salt-free, non-toxic options that’ll do the trick on your driveway
without posing a threat to your pet.
Household cleaning fluids are a year-round threat to all pets. During the winter, your dog will
probably be spending more time indoors; all the more reason to keep containers with toxic
ingredients locked away and out of reach. Another safety step would be to buy eco-friendly
cleaning products that won’t harm your pet. Most stores should have these products in stock,
though you may need to ask a store clerk to help find the best one for you.
If you have an in-ground pool, making sure it’s fully covered is an important safety measure for
your family and your pets. Your dog could miss a step or become disoriented after a snowfall
and take a very unintended plunge into an empty pool, which could have disastrous results.
Your best bet is to cover your pool in the fall after it’s been drained, but some homeowners get
busy and simply forget. Taking this simple precaution can keep your dog out of harm’s way. If
you need a new pool cover, your local pool and hot tub retailer should be able to help you with a
full range of pool products.
Your dog is an important part of the family, a good friend you need to watch out for in all
seasons. By taking a few simple safety measures, you can keep your pooch happy and healthy
through the longest winter.
A special thanks to Medina at DogEtiquette.info for providing this article.