Despite the fact that average high temperatures in Ventura County stay above 69 degrees in the winter months, evenings can be a completely different story. When the weather gets cold (as it definitely will this winter), it is essential to consider the health and safety of your dog. While keeping your pets safe year round is always important, it is even more crucial when temperatures are at hot and cold extremes.
In addition to the cold itself, there are many other winter-specific hazards of which to be aware. Whether you are staying here in Ventura for the winter months, or traveling to an even colder climate with your dog, follow these tips to keep your dog safe and warm.
Don’t leave your dog outside for too long
Protecting your pets from the elements is one of the most critical ways to keep them safe. Just as in the hot summer months, be aware of the temperature when letting your dog outside. How cold is too cold when it comes to leaving your dog outside? The general guideline given by most pet professionals is that if the weather is too cold for you to tolerate, it is also too cold for your dog. For a more precise answer, experts warn that once the temperature dips below 45 degrees, some dogs start to feel uncomfortable. At 20 degrees and below, all dogs are susceptible to developing frostbite and/or hypothermia.
Also, don’t keep your dog inside vehicles when it is cold
Even though your car may feel warm enough upon exiting, heat can quickly escape your vehicle. That’s why it is also important not to leave your dog inside vehicles when it gets cold. Follow the same temperature guidelines set above, as the inside temperature of a car can rapidly drop to match outside temperatures. If you know that you’ll need to run errands at places your dog isn’t allowed, it’s best to leave them at home for the day, or with a dog sitter if necessary.
If the need to use antifreeze arises, keep your dog far away
Antifreeze is highly toxic to dogs. Even if they consume a small amount, the substance is fatal. When using antifreeze, be sure to thoroughly clean up any spills that occur. Also, if you are walking outdoors in cold weather, be aware that there may be antifreeze spills near vehicles, or even in the road. Be extra aware of what liquids are on the ground, and do not let your dog drink fluid that is spilled in the road, sidewalk, or driveways.
Cover your dog’s paws when walking outside
Cold, dry air can be tough on your dog’s paws. Additionally, if you plan to travel to a place where sidewalk salt is used, this harsh substance can also cause damage to their paw pads. To help escape the elements, you can use dog boots to cover paws. The ASPCA also makes the following recommendation: “massaging petroleum jelly or other paw protectors into paw pads before going outside can help protect from salt and chemical agents.”
No matter how cold it gets this winter, following the simple tips above will ensure that your dog stays warm and comfortable all season long.