Winter and Your Pet
Cold weather provides its own set of challenges and opportunities.
Remember both ice and frozen water pose a hazard for you and your pets. If you put “Booties” on your dog, remember they have no nails to gain purchase if the ice breaks, and they fall into the water. The South Saskatchewan River is swiftly flowing under the ice, and can take your pet away quickly. The river is not the only hazard, any slough or wetlands area, also pose risks to your pet. If your pet is lucky and gains traction on the ice, and can pull themselves out of the water, they risk hypothermia, or a pulled muscle. It is best to monitor where your dog is outdoors, and keep them away from frozen ice and shorelines.
Carbon monoxide from vehicles stays low in the air. Take care to place your pet on leash in parking lots and roadways, to ensure their safety outdoors so they are kept away from poisonous fumes.
Before you take your pet out for an off leash walk when the windchill is -30 or below, make sure you have acclimatized them to the weather with regular daily walks, so their fur growth will protect them. Those indoor puppies, dogs with less cold tolerance may appreciate a sweater and / or a dog jacket for those outdoor trips to “do business”.
It is at this time of the year when your dog’s paws are very sensitive to the snow build up between the pads and toes of their paws. If the snow is fresh “snowman” making snow and clumps easily, your dog will love you if you get them used to wearing booties. For very cold weather, booties will also prevent ice, frozen snow or salt from cutting their paws and pads. If your dog stops moving on the walk, check their paws for ice and snow build up; remove your own mittens, and hold their paw in your hand to melt the ice pack build up.
If your dog shows signs of being too cold on a walk, sit or lie down with them so they can warm from your body heat. Or when you get home place warm water [not scalding hot water] in a large plastic water bottle similar to a 2 litre pop bottle. Wrap two bottles in a towel, and cuddle your dog beside them in their indoor kennel. Cover your pooch with a warm blanket.
For pets which are considered to have enough fur to be left outdoors, provide the right sized insulated kennel. Heaters and light bulbs could be used for warmth, installed into the kennel wisely so they don’t cause burns to your dog. Under the cushion bedding and rug placed on the kennel floor, buy a roll of “Reflective Foil Double Bubble Foil Insulation.” This insulation shield can even be stapled into place, and your outdoor dog will love you. This will provide an amazing “R” value, and reflects your dogs heat back to their body. Outdoor pets will also require water, which will also need to be heated as an outdoor dog, will not get enough fluids from snow or licking ice. Additionally, an outdoor dog will require extra good quality food during the winter months to keep them healthy. When the weather news reports bring in severe cold weather warnings, it may indeed, be time for your outside dog, to receive extra loving attention, and be brought indoors for protection.
Just as humans can get frost bite, so can your pet. Know the signs and symptoms of hypothermia. Especially susceptible to frost bite are dog breeds with upright ears. Tails and paws are the next smallest areas of the body in which ice crystals may form causing frostbite. Take care that these delicate small areas of your pet do not get frostbite which can be very painful to your pet. If your pet does get frostbite, take them into the vet immediately for proper care, the right method of thawing out, and first aid. By the same token, smaller breeds of dogs, elderly, sickly dogs or young puppies are much more sensitive to the cold than a large heavily muscled dog.
Monitor their behaviour outdoors. Even though they may have booties to protect their paws from injury and frostbite, and be decked out in sweater and jacket, it is very hard to wrap a scarf around a dog to protect their respiratory tract. Your dog will love you if you take precautions, and you should never have to confess that you did not know the hazards of severe and extreme cold weather and how it affects your pet.
Take care, and have fun out there!
“I pray this winter be gentle and kind–a season of rest from the wheel of the mind.”–John Geddes
For more information:
Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area is located in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada north of Cedar Villa Road, within city limits, in the furthest south west area of the city. 52° 06′ 106° 45′
Part SE 23-36-6 – Afforestation Area – 241 Township Road 362-A
Part SE 23-36-6 – SW Off-Leash Recreation Area (Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area ) – 355 Township Road 362-A
S ½ 22-36-6 Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area (West of SW OLRA) – 467 Township Road 362-A
NE 21-36-6 “George Genereux” Afforestation Area – 133 Range Road 3063
Wikimapia Map: type in Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area
Google Maps South West Off Leash area location pin at parking lot
Web page: https://stbarbebaker.wordpress.com
Where is the Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area? with map
Facebook group page : Users of the St Barbe Baker Afforestation Area
Facebook: South West OLRA
Contact the Meewasin Valley Authority in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada. The MVA has begun a Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area trust fund. If you wish to support the afforestation area with your donation, write a cheque to the “Meewasin Valley Authority Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area trust fund (MVA RSBBAA trust fund)”. Post to MVA 402 Third Avenue South Saskatoon, SK S7K 3G5 Please and thank you!
Please contemplate joining the SOS Elms coalition or make a donation to SOS Elms ~ leave a message to support the afforestation area 😉