Wednesday, 23 December 2009

Hazards and Dangers to Dogs at Christmas ~ Hazards to Dogs in Winter, Snow and Ice

Nearly Christmas and a very happy one to you and your dog.

In all the excitement it is easy to overlook potential hazards and dangers to your dog:
  • Christmas decorations - can be chewed and swallowed. They can break up into sharp fragments.Tinsel can act like a liguture - externally and internally.
  • Drinks. Alcohol is bad for dogs!
  • Smoking. Cigar and cigarette ends are poisonous to dogs
  • Wrappings. Can be chewed and swallowed, may cause digestive problems
  • Turkey bones are lethal. Cooked bones are brittle and will act like knives on the intestines.
  • Too many treats - a big sloppy output!
  • Tree position. If it is at the window where your dog normally looks out - you can imagine the chaos!
  • Crackers. The little gifts can be swallowed.
  • Children. Leave things everywhere that your dog can chew and swallow!
The solution to hazards - a bit of forethought! Put things out of reach. Don't let family and guests give too many treats.

That's just in the home. What about outside?

In the Winter we get cold, damp, snow and ice. All can be hazards to your dog.
Snow can hide all sorts of dangers.

A frozen lake, you can see tree debris on the ice. Is it safe for your dog to walk on? In this case, very unlikely. It is a carp fishing lake and is quite deep. A real danger to your dog.

A list of potential hazards and dangers to your dog are below.
  • Hidden dangers, e.g. holes, broken glass, etc.
  • Slipping and Falling
  • Frozen ponds, lakes, rivers
  • Hypothermia (exposure to cold)
  • Health problems exacerbated by cold
  • Exhaustion
  • Chemicals
  • Frozen ponds, etc. may not bear the weight of your dog.
  • Falling & slipping can cause soft-tissue damage or a broken bone.
  • Older and vulnerable dogs may suffer exposure and exhaustion. A coat is a good idea.
  • Arthritis can be more noticeable. Breathing problems can worsen with cold air.
  • The heart has to work harder. Exhaustion can set in.
  • Salt used to treat icy roads can irritate paws.
  • Anti-freeze and de-icers are toxic. 
And don't forget short-legged dogs (like daschunds) who will find deep snow hard work. They can also get cold stomachs!

Keeping a towel in your vehicle is a good idea, so your dog can have a rub-down after the walk.

Washing paws if you've walked on treated roads is a good idea.

Paw wax applied before the walk can help prevent slipping and also protect the pads.

And don't forget to keep chemicals well out of doggie reach!

Our old greyhound wrapped up nice and warm in TWO fleece-lined coats. There wasn't a lot of snow about, but it was below freezing and bitterly cold.
So that's a few ideas on dogs and cold weather and some problems for dogs in snow.

It's all common sense really - you will probably think of other things to add to the list!

Despite all the potential dangers, enjoy Christmas and Winter with your dog! Have a good one.

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