Winter is just around the corner! As a dog owner, you’ll want to be sure that you’re ready for all of the challenges that the winter months can bring, from holiday treats to chilly weather. Find out how you can keep your pup safe throughout the season.
Protect Their Paws
Sand, salt or other de-icers will be all over sidewalks, driveways and roads to melt away any slick ice patches in the winter months. This is great for preventing slips and falls, but it’s not so great for your dog to walk over with their bare paws.
To protect their sensitive paws, get them dog booties for their outdoor walks. And whenever you return home from walks, make sure to give their paws a nice wipe down with a damp towel.
Keep Them Visible
You’ll likely have to take your dog out for a walk when it’s snowing. Snow can limit your visibility. You might struggle to see your dog, especially when their coat blends in with their surroundings.
To make sure that you can keep a close eye on your pup, you should always keep them on a leash. You should also give them a bright collar or vest that helps them stand out in the snow. This will help you and the people around you (including drivers on the road) spot your dog.
Lock Away Antifreeze
In the winter months, you will probably use automotive radiator coolant (antifreeze) to keep your car running. Antifreeze is extremely dangerous for dogs. If your dog licks a little bit of the substance off the ground, they could suffer from antifreeze poisoning — this could be fatal.
So, keep your containers of antifreeze locked up. Wipe up any spills in the garage or driveway. If you can, keep your dog out of the garage in the winter, just in case.
Watch the Weather
Always check the weather before you bring your dog on a walk in the winter months. If the temperature is below 20 degrees Fahrenheit, you might want to skip the walk. Your dog will be at risk of hypothermia or frostbite — particularly frostbite on their ears or tail. If you must bring them out, keep the trip brief and make sure that they are nice and bundled up.
Your dog’s age, size and coat thickness will influence their comfort with the cold. So, take more precautions when your dog is old, small or has only a thin coat to protect it outdoors.
Don’t Feed Them Your Holiday Treats
Your kitchen counter is usually covered with different baked goods and sweets during the holidays. You should do your best to keep these treats covered so that your hungry pup can’t swipe one off the counter and gobble it up.
Many of your favorite holiday sweets contain ingredients that are toxic to dogs, including chocolate, coffee, macadamia nuts, raisins, walnuts and xylitol (a sweetener often used in candy).
If your dog keeps whining and begging for a treat, give them one that is safe for dogs. You can whip up a batch of homemade dog treats or buy some from a bakery. Your dog doesn’t have to feel left out.
Preparing for Urgent Vet Visits
Sometimes, you’ll take a lot of precautions, and your dog will still get sick enough that they’ll need to be rushed to the vet. To make sure that you can afford this type of emergency vet visit, you should consider signing up for pet insurance with accident and injury coverage. The insurance should help minimize the costs of urgent treatment.
You’ll also want to be ready to handle out-of-pocket costs outside of insurance. To do this, start building yourself an emergency fund (if you don’t happen to have one already). With enough savings in your emergency fund, you can pay off a vet bill right away without flinching.
What if you don’t have enough savings? In that case, you could consider borrowing funds to pay off the urgent bill. One borrowing option is a personal loan. You should learn important details like how do direct lenders work so that you’re prepared for any emergency where you’ll want to apply for a personal loan.
With an approved personal loan, you could use temporary funds to cover your bill quickly and get your pup the treatment it needs. Then, all you have to do is follow a simple loan repayment plan.
Winter can be a hard time for your pup. Make sure that you follow these precautions and keep them safe and sound!