STORM Bella has hit Britain this week and she has brought with her a covering of snow for some parts of the country.
Make sure you know how to keep your pet pooch safe if you're heading out for a walk in snowy areas.
Can I walk my dog in the snow?
Yes, you can walk your dog in the snow but you should be more wary than usual when taking them out.
This is because snow makes it easier for dogs to get lost or disorientated on snowy surfaces.
Make sure to wear the correct footwear yourself as well – it could be equally as slippery for you, so make sure you're properly dressed to avoid taking a tumble.
Take it slow and make sure not to rush anywhere in order to avoid tripping.
What are the dangers?
Aside from the obvious dangers of slipping and falling, snow presents a number of other risks.
Snow can often be treated with chemicals, which can be dangerous for your pup's paws.
Slush and ice in particular is sometimes treated with antifreeze which is dangerous for dogs – so steer clear if you spot that.
In addition, salt grit contains chemicals which can result in burns on pets' paws if they have prolonged contact with the grit.
Try to avoid walking on gritted surfaces with your pooch and rinse their feet when you get home.
Ice balls are also a danger – particularly for dogs with hairy feet. They can form between your dog's toes and pads of their paws and cause pain.
Checking their feet when you finish your walk can help this issue.
How can I keep my dog safe in the snow?
Here are some top tips from Dogs Trust to keep your dog safe in the snow.
- Keep your dog on a lead if it is snowing heavily
Snow can be unusual and exciting for dogs.
- Make sure your dog is wearing a collar and an ID tag and is microchipped.
It is important to ensure your microchipping database is up to date with your address and contact details.
- Make sure you wipe your dogs' legs, feet and stomach after a walk
The grit from the roads and dampness from rain or snow can irritate their skin.
- Don’t let your dog walk on frozen ponds
The ice may not be thick enough to take their weight. If your dog does fall through the ice never be tempted to go in after them. If possible, encourage them to swim back to you and call the emergency services.
- Antifreeze is highly poisonous but tasty to dogs
Keep it well out of their reach and mop up any spills!
- Regularly check your dog's leads, collars and harnesses
Make sure they are all functioning safely and not at risk of wear and tear or damage during winter weather.
If it's extra cold it can be very difficult to do up lead clips and attach them to collars and harnesses. Wet weather may also make metal clips rust.
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