8 Cold Weather Hazards for Dogs (and How to Avoid Them)
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.
Want to Learn More?
Interested in learning more about how to keep dogs safe and cozy in cold weather? Check out these great articles for the scoop on cold weather care.
- When a Dog’s Coat Isn’t Enough
- Keeping Your Pet Warm In the Cold This Winter
- 5 Tips for Exercising Your Dog in Gloomy Weather
- The 8 Best Winter Dog Hats for the Next Cold Snap
- Top 10 Sitter Success Steps for Cold Weather Safety
- The Best Winter Gear for 2019
- 5 Common Winter Illnesses for Pets
- How to Keep Your Pet Safe in the Winter Months