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Enjoying Winter Safely with Your Dog

  • Heidi

In the Land of Snow and Ice

So far, we’ve been spared the cold winds and deep snows of a true Minnesota winter. But, whether you love El Niño years or loathe them, the season can still cause trouble once we head outdoors.

Warmer winter temps often mean a break from serious cold weather gear. However, they can also add up to more ice, which leads to more slips and falls for you and your dog.

Then, to beat the ice, people turn toward melting products. However, they’re typically made from different salts that can add up to serious problems for the environment and dogs.

Unfortunately, winter temperatures have risen in Minnesota more than five degrees since the 1970s. That may not sound like much, but it leads to more “thaw and refreeze” cycles that contribute to those icy sidewalks.

But you can still get outside with your dog and enjoy the balmy temps safely with a few simple steps.

First, invest in traction aids for your shoes or boots. These priceless devices come in numerous styles, so you can find the perfect fit for all types of weather – or sidewalks! Our go-to brands include STABILicers and Kahtoola MICROspikes. But experiment until you find an option that allows you to walk comfortably and safely on frozen surfaces.

It can be trickier keeping your pup from slipping on icy surfaces, but you can reduce their risk of illness from ice melting products by:

  • Not letting your them eat salt, snow, or slush near treated areas
  • Wiping your their feet when they come inside, minimizing paw licking until they’re completely clean
  • Using paw wax or booties to protect sensitive tootsies when outdoors
  • Keeping ice melting products out of reach

It’s also important to know the signs of ice melt ingestion – a problem that often happens accidentally.

If your dog experiences vomiting or diarrhea after being outdoors – or you see them ingest a product – contact a veterinarian or American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) at (888) 426-4435 immediately.

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