10 Safety Tips for Your Puppy’s First Winter

Playful, curious and rambunctious, puppies have a way of making mischief. While these furry balls of energy need to be closely supervised any time of year, winter presents unique safety challenges.

If you’ve welcomed a puppy into the family this winter, consider the following safety tips.

Always Use a Leash

During the winter, it’s especially important to keep your puppy on-leash at all times. Snow and ice can be disorienting for dogs.

”Dogs can lose their scent and easily become lost dry easily in the winter, More dogs are lost during the winter than during any other season, so make sure your dog always wears an identification tag”

Consider Reflective Gear

The sun rises later and sets earlier in the winter, meaning walks can be more dangerous. If you walk your puppy near roads, some special gear may be in order.

Consider using reflective or light-up collars, leashes or harnesses in winter months.

Protect Against Ice & Snow

Cold air causes moisture between a dog’s toes to turn into ice balls. When ice balls grow, they cause the toes to stretch apart, which can be painful for your pup.

Ice balls can be prevented by having a groomer trim the fur between toe pads

To prevent heat loss, dry your pup off after she’s been in the snow and ice

Avoid Extreme Cold

If the weather outside is frightful, keep your puppy indoors. If it’s too cold for you, it’s too cold for your pet, Always keep animals indoors during inclement weather.
Never leave your puppy alone in the car, Cars can act as refrigerators that hold in the cold and cause animals to freeze to death.

Some puppies may benefit from wearing a dog sweater and booties as these can help retain body heat and prevent skin from getting dry or inflamed. Clothing needs vary depending on size, breed and fur type, so consult your vet about the best winter wardrobe for your pet.

Keep Antifreeze Out of Reach

It’s important to keep antifreeze, which is toxic, away from puppies. 

Ethylene glycol (the chemical found in antifreeze) is more common than people think, Deicers, car drips, garages, house-winterizing fluids and broken snow globes are common sources of antifreeze, Because ethylene glycol is sweet, animals will happily seek it out and ingest it.

Use Pet-Friendly Ice Melts

A puppy who has ingested too much ice melt containing sodium chloride-type salts can develop vomiting and electrolyte issues that lead to neurologic signs,

Pet-safe ice melts are not as irritating and are safer for use around animals. “It’s also a good idea to wipe off a puppy’s feet when coming inside if they have been walking on salted roads or pavements.
If you’re going on a walk around the neighborhood, consider booties or prepping your puppy’s paws. “Massaging petroleum jelly or other paw protectants into a pet’s paw pads before going outside can help protect from salt and chemical ice-melting agents.

Beware of Toxic Foods

Winter holidays present more opportunities for puppies to get into chocolate, alcohol, xylitol and other toxic foods. Sometimes people don’t realize that dogs can smell food in packages, and will frequently chew into wrapped presents containing chocolate it’s safest to verify presents don’t contain food before putting them under the tree where a puppy can find them!

If you’re hosting, take measures to ensure your puppy doesn’t sample the buffet. “Separate pets from party guests when food is around to prevent begging, handouts or thieving!

Avoid Rodenticides

Each winter, Pet Poison Helpline fields calls about mouse and rat poisons. During the colder months, rodents are more likely to come inside, leading people to use rodenticides in the home.

Curious puppies will readily ingest them, so they should be kept out of reach and in a bait station! Consider using other methods, such as mouse traps

Secure Medication

Curious pets will get into the luggage or pill containers of travelers and visitors if having friends and a family over to see you

Ask guests to secure their medications, When flu season hits, be sure not to leave medications where your puppy can reach them.

Decorate Safely

Holiday decor poses a number of hazards, especially to a curious puppy.

To pet-proof your Christmas tree, secure it to the wall. Make sure that all ornaments, garland and wires are out of reach – if chewed or ingested, they can be dangerous and even deadly.

Holiday plants may look pretty, but are best avoided with puppies. Ingesting holly can cause nausea, vomiting and diarrhea, and mistletoe can result in gastrointestinal upset and cardiovascular problems “Opt for just-as-jolly artificial plants made from silk or plastic, or choose a pet-safe bouquet”

Don’t leave candles unattended, Pets may burn themselves or cause a fire if they knock candles over, Be sure to use appropriate candle holders, placed on a stable surface. And if you leave the room, put the candle out!

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