After the initial snow surprise, a majority of dogs enjoy this element! Playing, jumping and running in the snow is a hobby loved by most of our doggies.
However, the cold of the snow is not without danger for them and it is necessary to protect them! Let's go over together the risks linked to snow and the solutions to protect your dog!
The dangers of snow for your dog
The dangers associated with snow are numerous but not excessively serious. Most increase with the amount of time your dog spends outdoors in the snow.
Before we start: unequal risks
First and foremost, you should note that all dogs are not the same when it comes to snow. Short-haired, small, flat-faced and/or older dogs are more likely to fear the cold. If your dog is in poor health, avoid taking him for a walk in the snow. It will only weaken him further.
The sudden change in temperature between your home and the outdoors can be severe for your pet.
Indigestion and intoxication
While playing in the snow or out of curiosity, your dog may ingest it. Apart from the gastric problems (vomiting and diarrhoea) that this can cause, there is also a risk of salt poisoning.
By ingesting the salt used to clear snow from roads and pathways, your dog is at risk of severe dehydration which, in the most serious cases, can lead to convulsions. The best approach here is to rehydrate him as much as possible by offering him water and to accompany him to the veterinarian who will administer a treatment that will facilitate the elimination of salt in his body.
Chapped and cracked paw pads
As you may have guessed, dogs who spend a lot of time in the snow have their paw pads put to the test. Chaps and cracks can be painful for your dog and affect his ability to move around.
And yes! With the reflection of the sun on the snow, there is a risk of sunburn for your dog. This is of course especially true during long walks.
Walking in the snow with your dog
In view of the risks and in general, it is therefore advisable to limit your dog's outings when it snows or when there is snow on the ground. Especially if he is rather fragile or old or if he shows signs of particular discomfort.
However, this recommendation will not stand for long if you live in the mountains or if you regularly (or for a long time) have snow around your home. In this case, it is better to prepare your dog for this outing!
Preparing your dog for snow
Dress him up when he goes out: a dog coat and booties can be a good way to protect his body from the cold and wet. See if he's comfortable, as not all dogs are comfortable in these items!
If your dog doesn't tolerate them, try offering him an intermediate cooling period before going outside. Play in the hallway or garage before going out to limit the thermal shock between your apartment and the outdoors. This will allow your dog's body to slowly adjust to the cold.
Walking in the snow
During the walk, keep an eye on him. Don't let him eat snow and make sure he's comfortable. You probably know your dog: if he seems hesitant, less enthusiastic than usual, or limping, it's possible that the snow is bothering him. In this case, shorten your walk.
On the way back
Finally, when you get home, get rid of any snowballs that may be clinging to your dog's coat (especially if he has long hair) or under his paw pads and dry him well.
If, despite your monitoring, he engaged in risky behaviours (such as eating snow), keep an eye on him in the hours following the outing.
In general, stay tuned to your dog every time you try something new with him – a walk in the pouring rain, a walk in the snow, a trip to the beach… He's not made of sugar and will show you if he's uncomfortable!
Passionate about dogs since I was a child, I adopted my dog from a shelter 4 years ago. Thanks to her, I learned many things: the most adapted food, education, how to welcome a dog… I keep on discovering new things and share them with you here!