Winter Abode Check for Dogs
By Carol Bryant
Everyone’s heard of spring cleaning, changing the fire alarm batteries and getting ready for a new season. However, the winter months pose special indoor dangers for dogs too. For example, did you know fleas can live indoors all winter long?
Here are a few things all dog parents should do to keep their canines safe and sound in the colder months.
As the temperatures drop, the thermostat rises indoors. The usage of an electric heater or fireplace should be done with caution. Tails, fur and paws that come too close to flames, hot surfaces or the coils of an electric heater can be damaged, and an unattended heater could be knocked over by a curious pet. To make sure your pooch is warm indoors, and that fire hazards are diminished, never leave a heater on without someone in attendance.
Contrary to widely held belief, fleas can and do live indoors all winter long. Keep fleas away with proper prevention, and check with your dog’s veterinarian for how often and what to use on your dog.
Wires and Hazards
Some dogs love to chew on electrical wires. As the holidays have passed, now is a good time to assess any exposed wires and cords that are risky or any other access that dogs may have to electrical shock. Cover cords with plastic sleeves, unplug cords when not in use where applicable and take a check around the house for any balls or toys that might be close (or stuck) to electrical sources.
A dog’s bed, kennel or “comfy spot” should be kept away from any drafty areas. Though dogs have a fur coat, cold can and does affect them. If you feel a draft or cold, then chances are your dog is feeling that same cold air. Keep dog beds off of heating vents, but in a spot that keeps them warm and secure.
What dogs walk on outside is oftentimes brought inside with them. With winter sidewalks being laden with rock salt, chemicals and other debris, it’s important to protect a dog’s paws outside, and then keep them clean inside. Ice can burn and cause damage to a dog’s sensitive paws, so using dog booties or a food-grade pet-safe wax can help prevent problems. Wash dog paws (and tummies) with warm clean water prior to coming in the house after a winter walk.
If dogs have access to the family garage, take a check for any antifreeze containers. Clean up any spills, do not allow pets to have access to any containers that are poisonous, and do not allow pets to lick or step in any puddles near cars while out on walks.
If a new puppy has graced your life, a whole extra set of puppy-proofing precautions apply to new dog parents. Everything from cabinets that need to be locked and toilets that need lids down to plants need to be kept from prying paws.
Carbon Monoxide Dangers
Just like people, pets can be overcome with carbon monoxide. Have a furnace check—both odorless and invisible, carbon monoxide poisoning is always a danger year round.
Last but not least, some dogs are opposed to doing their duties outside when there is cold weather and/or snow on the ground. Shovel a nice little path for dogs to do their outdoor business and never punish a dog for relieving himself inside.
Use this list and both you and your pup will appreciate the extra precaution and safety this season.
Carol Bryant - “A dog lover of the highest order,” is how Gayle King introduced Carol Bryant when she and her Cocker Spaniel appeared on Oprah Radio’s Gayle King show to dish dogs. A frequent media contributor, Carol has appeared on television, radio and in print. A repeat nominee from the Dog Writers Association of America and writer for Dogster, she also works with BlogPaws pet blogger social media community and conferences and is founder of her own canine-centric magazine-style dog blog, Fidose of Reality.