Winter Safety Information & Tips

The snow has arrived.Take a quick read through of our winter safety tips to keep your pet happy and healthy through the cold season:

Antifreeze and Pets don’t Mix

With temps dropping, antifreeze becomes a common product people use in their cars to keep their pipes from freezing. Antifreeze is incredibly toxic yet attractive in smell and taste to dogs and cats. Less than a teaspoon ingested could mean death. Be aware of what antifreeze looks like and if it is being stored outside in areas that are accessible to both dogs and cats. If you see a yellow, thick substance floating at the top of puddles or on pavement itself clean it up thoroughly by using nylon bristle brush wet with water to scrub the antifreeze stained area and create a sudsy cleaning agent with the sprinkled laundry detergent. Blot well with clean newspaper and allow to dry.
Know the signs of antifreeze ingestion:
Within 12 hours dogs and cats may be vomiting and seem ‘drunk,’ wobbly, and more vocal than usual. It is crucial to get the animal to the vet as quick as possible if you know they have ingested any amount of antifreeze.
12-24 hours after ingestion dogs and cats could exhibit further depression, increased heart rate, and usually at this point the kidneys begin to struggle to cope.
After 24 hours you may notice your dog or cat drinking more, lethargy, vomiting and a painful abdomen. Acute renal failure is likely and unfortunately the prognosis at this point is very poor.

A Cold Car = A Cold Dog

Just like summer, leaving your dog unattended in the car for long periods of time can be very hazardous to their health. Cooped up in a car, they can’t do anything to raise their body temperature if they are cold. If you must leave them in your car during the winter have a jacket on hand for them and a sleeping bag in the back for them to curl up in. Click on the chart below to enlarge.

Paws on Pavement

Snow and ice on frozen ground can sometimes wreak havoc on a dog and cat paws, especially while walking on pavement that may have been salted or chemically anti-iced. Make sure your pet’s paws or well- groomed to minimize cracked, sore pads, blisters and infections.

The Great Outdoors

Powder hounds are abundant locally and lots of dogs love nothing more than romping around in the snow. You can buy natural waxes and salves to create a sealant on your pup’s paws before letting them loose outside. Many of the waxes and salves for sale contain Vitamin E which helps sooth cracks as well as protects their paws. Booties are also an option for those with sensitive paws and can be bought locally. ** Fun tested fact – All natural cooking spray works greats on paws and dogs with feathery undercarriages where they have snow clump up and create tight snowballs which are painful to your pooch. Give them a good spray on their paws, bellies, and back of legs to prevent snowball buildup. Our staff pups prefer the olive oil spray.
If you’re contemplating taking your four-legged pal into backcountry to downhill ski there are serious issues to take into consideration:
1) If they don’t know, they shouldn’t go. Us human backcountry skiers should have the proper knowledge (and proper equipment) of avalanche safety. We understand what an avalanche path is, a cornice is, and where to stand/ ski and where not to. We understand the dangers of skiing above another skier. Our animal partners do not have this knowledge and therefore endanger themselves and others while in the backcountry. Take into consideration if something was to happen and your pup and human partner were buried, tough choices will have to be made when recovering your partners.
2) Steep slopes = Steep vet bills. The skis and snowboards we have fixed to our feet keep us humans floating above the powder. Dogs have to charge downhill at a strenuous pace to keep up. Common injuries that local vets see in dogs from downhill skiing are ACL tears, early onset arthritis, and tendon lacerations. These injuries are not only painful to your pup but are also very expensive and can have long recuperation periods.
3) From car to trail and in between. Parking lots of the popular recreating areas are always busy. Leash your dog while crossing the road no matter what. Road conditions can change and although a motorist may see your dog crossing they may not be able to stop on icy roadways. Forgot your leash? A ski pole can work when looped through their collar.

Special Care for Seniors

Senior animals have similar issues when walking on ice as humans do. Be aware of the grounds conditions while unloading your pup from the car, a common time for animals to injure themselves. Arthritic dogs and cats may experience more pain with the colder temps. Continue to keep you pet active, but be mindful of slippery conditions. If you don’t already give your pet a natural joint supplement, consider it for the winter.

Hazardous Ponds, Creeks, and Rivers

Frozen or half way frozen ponds, creeks, and rivers can be incredibly hazardous if not deadly to an animal as well as their human if a rescue has to occur. Once they fall in its very difficult and time sensitive to get them out. Avoid areas with cracks, breaks, or holes. Keep in mind: “Thick and blue, tried and true; Thin and crispy, way too risky.”

The Moose are on the Loose

It is essential to both your pet’s life as well as the local wildlife’s life to not allow pets to chase wildlife. Every winter dogs perish due to moose stomps. Big game animals spend every ounce of their energy just staying alive in the harsh winter conditions. Expending extra energy to get away from an animal who is chasing it could be deadly to them. A dog on the loose could mean a dead moose!