I have a hard time admitting I am an overprotective pet owner- my occupation (Veterinary Technician) certainly does not help the situation but I am! Seeing the amount of potential hazards our pets can encounter when we are with or without them makes my body flood with anxiety. Personally, this feeling becomes amplified in the winter time…Our dogs are indoor where they can become bored and get into things they should not. We are also busy with the holidays and family coming to visit so it is easier to let things fall through the cracks.
I have compiled a short list of some of my biggest winter worries. While some of these are total no-brainers, it is nice to get a friendly reminder. Maybe it is time to tidy up the house and/or garage to avoid hefty vet bills and unwanted harm to our favorite little sausages.
1. Antifreeze & Gasoline (really any petroleum based product)
Now this is part of my no-brainer comment earlier… We know our dogs should not be around these things yet sometimes our car has a leak or we leave the gas can out when we use the snow blower, etc. Antifreeze has a very sweet smell and taste to it which can of course be appealing to our pets. Ingesting gasoline or antifreeze can be lethal as it affects the brain, liver and kidney functions. Contact your pet’s veterinarian immediately if you suspect they got into either of these things! Time will certainly be of the essence.
2. Frostbite & Hypothermia
The only time I would not want to be a dachshund is in the snow or ice because let’s face it, it is a total disadvantage! Their poor little stump legs and bellies are so close to the ice cold ground. Frostbite occurs when skin is exposed to extremely low temperatures and restricts the blood flow to the body’s surface. Hypothermia begins when your pets temperature drops below its normal range, blood flow is redirected to support your vital organs so the blood flow to your toes, ears, tail, and etc. is restricted. Monitor the time your wiener is outside so these two things can be completely avoided! What can also help is to put a cute (but warm!) sweater on your wiener to keep his/her belly warm.
3. Ice Melt
This one can be challenging since we cannot control our neighbors… Using a pet-friendly ice melt is so so so important! Finding one that is salt and chloride free is essential. Wiping your dogs paws off after a wintery walk is really important and recommended regardless just to avoid ingestion of unwanted ice melt products as these can be toxic in large amounts.
4. Weight Gain
I just saw a question mark pop up in your brain. Let me explain myself! Personally, I am less active in the winter thus causing my dog to be the same. We do not frequent the beach or dog park like we usually do when it is nice weather outside so we have to make some dietary adjustments. I make sure to tailor the amount of food and treats Beans gets during the cold months. Putting your insanely food motivated dachshund on a diet would be torture so I try to stay as proactive about weight management as possible. It is challenging at times but well worth it come bikini (weenie) season. See what I did there? 🙂
Another question mark, huh? Dogs are like us in so many ways…. They feel the cold, damp weather just as much as we do so do not be surprised if your dog seems a little sluggish when getting around if he or she is an arthritis sufferer. Make sure to contact your veterinarian for management methods!
6. Space Heaters
These things scare me to begin with since they are often associated with household fires but with pets around, no way! Anything that is floor height and hairy should never be in the same room with one of these, can we say trouble? I know for certain my dog’s curious nose or cat’s puffy tail would find their way to a heating element and bad things would come out of it. In the same breath, knowing that sometimes this may be the only option for heat, make sure you get a space heater with the ‘knock-over’ safety feature so it turns off when tipped over. Also, try to find one with a grate covering the heating elements for that extra measure of safety.
And just because I am ‘that pet owner’ and enjoy that extra safety measure—I recommend getting a few pet alert stickers for your doors and windows. In case of an emergency, fire rescue teams will know how many and what kind of pets to look for. They also make keychain versions in case something happens to you! I linked some I found on Amazon here.
As I said earlier, some of these go without saying but for people who need friendly reminders, motivation or even new pet owners- lists like these can be a good place to start. It is impossible to shield our doxies from all of life’s dangers but we can certainly try!
Love & Weens,
Sammantha & Beans