To help your dog get through the winter in the best possible way, we have summarised the most important tips for you.
Fun in the snow
It's fascinating what snow can do: It's not just children who get into high spirits of play, build igloos and have snowball fights. Most dogs also seem to be electrified by snow. From puppies to senior dogs, the animals literally blossom and can't believe their luck. Everything smells different, feels unfamiliar and triggers them to dash through the snow in a frenzy.
They are also up for a snowball fight and love to retrieve snowballs. As long as it stays that way, there is usually no danger for dogs. However, if they do eat the snowball, it is better to keep the dog away from it. This is because there is a risk of "snow gastritis". This is an inflammatory disease of the stomach lining. It often results in abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhoea and fever. In this case, a day of fasting followed by a light diet is recommended. Depending on the dog's general condition, a veterinarian should be consulted.
Well equipped for the winter walk
If you have a dog with a thick coat and abundant undercoat, you don't have to worry about the cold. But there are plenty of dogs who don't wear "thermal underwear" and are grateful for a protective coat. Don't be fooled into thinking that every dog has to endure cold and snow. Short-haired dogs with little undercoat (e.g. Boxers and Whippets) freeze much faster than a Golden Retriever or even a Newfoundland. A dog coat can help to keep your dog warm on a long walks. Otherwise, you should always keep an eye on your dog to see if they are shivering. Short-term shivering is not a problem, but continuous shivering is a clear sign to turn around. Or move on quickly if a chat between dog lovers has caused a delay. Also be considerate of young, sick or old animals. For them, the walk should be shorter. In return, however, you are welcome to do one more walk per day.
Care for your dog’s paws
In winter, a regular check of the paws is a must. Salt, grit, ice and snow can take their toll on the sensitive pads. Some dogs' paws are very resistant, others need intensive care. Vaseline and milking grease are only recommended to a limited extent, because they are harmful to health and clog the pores. It is better to use a special paw ointment. Apply this before each walk to create a natural protective layer.
If the walk includes roads or pavements where salt has been spread, wash the paws briefly with lukewarm water on your return. Don't forget to dry them afterwards, as a damp microclimate promotes the growth of bacteria and fungi. Finally, check the paws and reapply a thin layer of paw cream if they are cracked or very rough.