Winter weather can be fun and exciting for the whole family, dogs included. There are, however, some potential hazards for your dog that you should be aware of. The first and perhaps the most obvious concern is the cold.
All dogs need to have their outside time, but if you live in a climate where the weather is freezing, this time should be limited. Naturally, some breeds and breed mixes are built for the cold but even these dogs should be monitored for icy paws and frozen ear tips. Short hair dogs should not be left outside for any length of time, and for cold weather walks, a sweater is a good idea. It is my personal belief that no dog should be tied up and kept outside all the time, but, if your dog does have to spend time outside, a doghouse of some type is absolutely necessary. The dog needs protection from the wind and needs to stay dry. Also, be sure your dog has water that is not frozen.
There are other potential dangers for dogs outside in the cold. Halite, the chemical ice melt is poisonous if ingested. Make sure to wipe your dog's feet when he comes in so the does not try to lick the “salt" off his paws. Instead of using chemical salt on your frozen steps or driveway, you can throw sand. It will not melt the ice but will provide traction. Another extremely toxic substance your pooch can find outside it winter is antifreeze. This has a sweet smell and taste but as little as 1 teaspoon can be fatal. If you see any leaked antifreeze on your driveway, hose it off immediately.
Your dog can get into trouble inside as well. Several houseplants are poisonous, including diffenbachia and philodendron. During the holiday season, be aware that holly and poinsettia are toxic to dogs so keep them well out of reach. The holidays often bring parties and lots of guests. Make sure your dog has access to a quiet, safe place to retreat to when he had had enough socializing. Parties mean lots of good food, and maybe extra treats for Max or Fluffy. Certain foods are toxic to dogs. Most of us know dogs can't eat chocolate but there are several other foods your dog should never eat. These include, grapes or raisins, garlic, onions, mushrooms, coffee and macadamia nuts. If your dog ingests any of these foods, consult your vet right away.
With some extra care and attention, your four legged best friend can enjoy the winter weather and the holidays with your family.
Joseph M. Sabol is a world class Doberman breeder. Please go to http://petvitamins4u.com or to http://theroadhousedobes.com for further information