Winter Pet Safety Tips
The colder months can be challenging for everybody. Sure, walking your dog in the winter seems like no biggie if your good boi happens to love the snow—but what if they love it a little too much? And if they hate it, you’ll be wondering how to exercise your dog in winter, not to mention how to keep them out of trouble while they’re indoors. So the Dogfathers and Dogmothers here at PoopChute have rounded up our top winter pet safety tips to keep your fur peeps safe and sound…and your house out of the doggy destruction crosshairs.
Walking Your Dog in the Winter
Let’s start with the basics: WALKIES. So when is it too cold to walk your dog? It’s important to remember that ALL dogs, like people (ahem…dogs ARE people), are individuals—and like people, they will have preferences about outdoor temperatures. Size, breed, general weather acclimation and your doggo’s choice of outerwear are also critical factors when you’re walking dogs in cold weather. This easy-to-use chart developed by Dr. Kim Smyth, staff veterinarian at PetPlan, considers all of these factors…so it’s a great place to start.
But even when the weather outside is delightful, existing ice, snow and salt can wreak havoc on those adorable toe-beans—so protecting dog paws in winter is also a must. If you’ve got a fashion-forward pooch who tolerates booties, great! They’re a great option that provide both warmth and protection. If not, a natural paw balm like Musher’s Secret can help. Apply generously before your walk, then be sure to wipe feet with a clean towel upon returning; this will prevent your pet from ingesting any salt he or she may have picked up along the way.
Winter Exercises for Your Dog
Even if you’re utilizing all the tips above, your furry friends are unlikely to get as much exercise this time of year as they do during the warmer months. So, we asked the experts—i.e., the ever-so-slightly-dog-obsessed folks here at PoopChute HQ—to tell us some fun things to do with your dog in winter. Here are our three fave ideas:
- Hide & Seek. Throw a treat to lure your dog away from you, then find a good hiding place and ask your dog to come find you. Especially great for hounds and shepherds.
- Stair Fetch. No explanation needed on this one—but we will say that this works best with younger dogs and carpeted stairs, and that we recommend throwing the ball UP.
- Target Practice. Even if your pup’s never been through obedience basics, it’s a great time to practice targeting or placement: both skills that will be helpful in the future.
Indoor Winter Hazards for Pets
Now that you know how to protect dogs from cold weather, we should mention that your cozy home can be rife with pet hazards year-round—and especially this time of year, when critters might be feeling stir-crazy and extra curious. If you haven’t yet, we recommend checking out this American Humane household poisons resource; it’s a great primer on household plants, foods and cleaning products that can be harmful to your BFF (best furry friend).
And finally, we’d like to remind you to keep an eye on heating elements this time of year. Fireplaces, wood-burning stoves, candles and even space heaters can be sources of interest and attraction for pets…particularly puppies, who have yet to learn life’s little lessons. When possible, keep open flames and ALL heat sources safely away from anyone with four legs.
And of course, when you and your dog are ready to venture back out into the cold—your PoopChute Dog Waste Bag Dispenser can help you keep your sh*t together. ‘Nuff said.