Tag Archives: dog safety

Winter Hazards and Keeping Puppy Safe

For many, it can be the most beautiful time of year full of holiday festivity, snowy landscapes and warm fires. But, winter can also be a dangerous time of year…especially for our four-legged, furry friends. It’s crucial to be aware of winter-specific hazards so the necessary steps are taken to ensure our pets’ health and safety.

Indoor Threats

Heat Sources – Fires, candles, space heaters and wood-burning stoves create the dangerous potential for burns and smoke inhalation. The crackle, flickering light and warmth of a fire can be interesting stimulation to dogs, so make sure your dog is never left alone in a room with open flames or hot electric elements. And of course when a fire is lit, monitor your dog closely so he doesn’t get near it and endanger himself or those around him.

Carbon Monoxide Poisoning – Remember to check all furnaces, gas water heaters and gas/kerosene space heaters regularly for any leakages. Since dogs tend to be indoors for longer periods of time during the winter, they are more at risk to exposure if there are leaks, which can cause serious health issues and even be fatal. Checking your smoke detector (or purchasing one if you don’t already have one) will help protect your pet and your family. Keep in mind carbon monoxide poisoning can also happen if dogs are left in cars too long with the motor running or kept in a garage near a running car.

Outdoor Threats

Cold Weather – Just like human beings, dogs are susceptible to serious health conditions such as frostbite and hypothermia (low body temperature) if kept outside too long in frigid weather. Make sure you take the necessary precautions such as keeping your dog away from frozen water and thin ice to prevent drowning as well as making sure your dog has fresh, unfrozen water available to him and the ability to come inside if he needs to. If your dog has a dog house or igloo outside, make sure the interior is insulated. A good layer of straw or safely heated mats are options to keep your dog warm and comfortable. Older or ill dogs should be kept inside when possible to prevent their health conditions from worsening. If your dog is short-haired, consider dressing him in a sweater with high collar or turtleneck to cover him from the base of the tail to the belly. Also, avoid shaving your dog down in the colder months. A longer coat will provide him with more warmth.

Chemicals – Ice melts and salts as well as the chemicals ethylene glycol and methanol found in antifreeze and windshield wiper fluids are dangerously toxic and can cause serious, if not fatal health problems if your dog ingests them. Ice melts and salts can stick to the bottom of your dog’s paws, so make sure you wash their paws after all outdoor walks and remove any snow balls from between his foot pads where these chemicals could be present. If your dog is long-haired, trim him to minimize clinging ice balls, salt crystals or de-icing chemicals that can dry his skin.


1. Keep your home humidified and towel dry your dog as soon as he comes indoors. Repeatedly coming out of the cold and into dry heat can cause itchy, flaky skin.

2. Bathe your pets minimally during cold spells. Washing too often can also cause dryness and remove essential oils from their skin. When you do bathe your dog, use a moisturizing shampoo.

3. Pets burn extra energy during the wintertime in order to stay warm. By feeding your dog a bit more during the cold months, the extra calories will provide additional sustenance. Always providing plenty of water to keep your dog well-hydrated is also crucial.

4. At night, temperatures drop significantly. Make sure your pooch has a warm place to sleep, off a cold floor and away from any drafts. A cozy bed with warm blanket is a good option.

Where's Fido? Prevent Your Pup Going Missing

A missing pup can wreak havoc on a family – the feelings of worry, guilt and panic all rolled into one.  Not to mention that a lost pup is at risk for injury, sickness or worse, death. To prevent your dog from getting lost, you should take all necessary measures to protect his safety.

Yet, even with the best precautions in place, sometimes bad things happen to good, responsible people.  There is always a chance of your pup getting away and therefore it’s important to know what to do in an emergency to increase the chances of finding your dog right away.

Keep Puppy’s ID Current

Make sure your puppy’s collar and tag is updated with all of your information on it. Even “indoors-only” pets must be equipped with ID tag which includes owner’s name, home address, mobile and home telephone numbers.

Microchip Your Puppy

The microchip embedding procedure may be costly, but it’ll be worth every cent you spend in the unfortunate case your dog goes missing. A microchip, smaller than the size of a grain of rice, is a permanent means of identification scannable by any veterinary hospital or animal shelter.

Do a Critical Search

Conduct a thorough investigation when looking for your missing pet. You may ask questions of the people who last saw your pet, take note of all the pertinent details and analyze the events to draw the most logical conclusions.

Make the Necessary Phone Calls

Call any family and all neighbors who may have come into recent contact with your dog. You should also call down your list of local shelters (both private and municipal), animal control centers or rescue groups to find out which dogs they recently took under custody and see if any are a match for your pup. It doesn’t hurt to also phone the local law enforcement and file a police report that your dog is missing.

Inform the Most Number of People

In this day and age, getting the word out about your lost pet can take just a few seconds of your time. Gone are the days of having to rely solely on creating “Missing Pet posters” and posting them to trees and lampposts within your neighborhood (although this tried and true method is still your best bet of communication given the fact that your neighbors are the most likely to have seen your dog). Now, you can post on your social media accounts and drive awareness via Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat instantly to your entire social network so they too can keep their eyes peeled for Fido. It also doesn’t hurt to create a unique hashtag for your pet to help track any community-related posts (think #FindDaisyMae).

About Those Missing Pet Posters…

thumbnail-prevent-missingMake sure the headline of your poster, e.g., “LOST DOG” is written or typed in a large, clear font that’s readable even from a distance. Ideally, place your pet’s most recent photograph below the “LOST DOG” headline. List other details that are necessary for positively identifying your pet such as breed, color, sex, weight, age, and other distinguishing features and characteristics. Also, do not forget to place your name and phone number on the poster. Hit the Streets with the flyers in hand and post as soon as possible, not only in your neighborhood but also in local parks and runs, pet supply or grooming stores, offices of veterinarians and local establishments like schools, gas stations, laundry shops, bus stops, restaurants, cafes, convenience stores, and even grocery stores. Pay special attention to areas with high levels of foot traffic.

Stay Positive

And remember, while this can be an extremely stressful time, keep your mind focused on finding your dog. Try to avoid the “What Ifs,” and allocate all of your energy to taking the necessary steps above. Don’t lose hope and when you do find your dog, hug him tight and keep him on a tight leash (pun intended).