It may feel like you were just making DIY dog popsicles and putting bowls of ice cubes in front of your fans. Now, it’s time to talk about how to keep your Rover dog safe when sweater weather hits.
How to Avoid Common Cold Weather Ailments
Hazard: hypothermia. When a dog’s temperature dips too low, they’ll start shivering, appear listless, and—if left untreated—develop more severe symptoms (source: petMD).
How to avoid:
- Skip long walks on especially cold days.
- Just before you go outside, put a towel in the dryer on a low setting, then wrap the dog in the towel right after you get home.
- You can also wrap a hot water bottle in the towel and warm the dog that way—just make sure it’s not so hot it burns their skin.
- Dog sweaters, coats, and booties will help keep them warm and comfortable during winter outings (source: petMD). Added bonus: dogs in sweaters? Adorable.
Hazard: salty sidewalks. While putting salt on sidewalks makes you less likely to slip, it can chap a dog’s delicate paw pads. And it doesn’t end there—many commonly used de-icing solutions can be harmful for dogs if ingested.
How to avoid: We recommend toweling dry their paws after walks and asking their pet parent if they wear a sweater and booties in cold weather. For more tips on how to keep a dog’s paws and skin safe during the wintertime, check out the ASPCA’s Top Ten Winter Skin & Paw Care Tips.
Hazard: Antifreeze drips from a car’s radiator and collects on sidewalks, driveways, and roads. Some people even add it to their toilet bowls to winterize pipes in homes (source: petMD). Unfortunately, animals have been known to lick it off the ground: They’re attracted to the sweet taste of its main ingredient, ethylene glycol (source: The Humane Society of the United States). Symptoms of ingesting antifreeze include:
- excessive thirst
- drunken-like behavior (source: Pet Poison Helpline).
If a dog in your care even licks up a bit of antifreeze, take them to the vet right away, then give us and the pet parent a call as soon as you can.
How to avoid: Keep dogs away from garages and driveways, where antifreeze tends to collect. Make sure to put any antifreeze in your home at a level curious dogs can’t reach.
Hazard: You or the dog owner are stranded due to weather.
How to avoid: Have a cold-weather backup plan in case you or the pet parent can’t make it over. If you and the dog owner hit it off at the Meet & Greet and agree to book—or you accept a re-booking from a repeat client—make a cold-weather plan right away that covers what to do if neither one of you can make it over on time.
Make Sure They Don’t Get Into the Holiday Food
Hazard: Toxic or dangerous foods
This time of year—while it’s delicious—means you need to be extra vigilant around dogs trying to get into the leftovers. We know it can be tough to say no to those puppy-dog eyes, but many human foods are toxic or dangerous for dogs, including:
- food with bones
- yeast dough
How to avoid: Put trash cans under sinks if you can and don’t let your guests feed your Rover dog. Don’t leave plates unattended, even if you’re just turning around to load the dishwasher.
Take Extra Precautions
Winter’s a busy time for sitters on Rover, especially around the holidays. Here’s how you can make sure dogs and humans have a great time together.
Hazard: you’re taking care of dogs that don’t get along.
How to avoid: Before you accept a booking, make sure the pet parent knows if you’re caring for another dog, even if it’s for a short time. Many dogs don’t get along with other dogs, so if a pet parent requests that you watch their dog only, make sure you only care for their dog during that time. Make sure you also have the ability to separate dogs you have in your care with exercise pens, baby gates, or other barriers.
Hazard: your Rover dog doesn’t get along with kids. Children can be very overwhelming for dogs, and some of the things kids do is considered rude by dogs—like touching their faces or petting them the wrong way.
How to avoid: Whether you have a child or your own or you’re planning on having guests with children over, make sure the pet parent is okay with that. It’s in everyone’s best interest to keep your Rover dog comfortable and children safe. And if you have children of your own, teach them how to interact with dogs—it’ll help them cultivate a lifetime love of dogs.
Hazard: dog escapes. Even dogs who seem fast asleep will sometimes bolt out the door if they got a whiff of some holiday ham leaving with your guests. While dog escapes aren’t winter-specific, it’s something to always be ready for, especially if you have a lot of foot traffic coming in and out.
How to avoid:
- Place a second barrier (like a baby gate) around doorways to the outside.
- If you’re expecting guests, place a sign on your door that says something like, “Escape artist inside. Please knock and wait for me to answer.” Once they’re inside, make sure to close the door all the way.
- Check your yard ahead of time, even if it’s fenced, to make sure it’s secure. Read more about how to prevent escape artists.
- Stay with the dog the whole time they’re outside, even in a fenced yard. You can even put them on a leash if you want to be extra careful.
Here’s What to Do if You Experience an Emergency
- Call their vet or an emergency vet (you can easily find the closest emergency vet on Google).
- Call our Trust & Safety team at 888-727-1140—we’re here 24/7 and will help you through it.
- Call the dog owner as soon as you have a minute.
Putting our safety tips into practice will help you build long-lasting relationships with your clients, get you that 5-star review, and make sure you have plenty of time for snuggling on the couch with your Rover guests.