Teddy has been looking exceedingly hairy and teddy bear-y recently, so this weekend we were set to take him for a haircut. That was until I read these tips from the largest dog welfare charity in the UK, Dogs Trust, on dog safety during the cold snap:
• Let your dog’s winter coat grow. If you have a puppy, short-haired or old dog, buy him a sensible winter coat – a high visibility coat will ensure your dog can be easily seen in the dark.
• Keep your dog on a lead if it is snowing heavily. Snow can be disorientating so he can easily become lost.
• 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 so your dog can be more easily reunited with you should he become lost
• Make sure you wipe your dog’s legs and feet when you come indoors after a snowy walk. The grit from the roads can irritate their feet.
• Never leave your dog in a car during extreme weather, hot or cold.
• Do not let your dog walk on frozen ponds – the ice may not be thick enough to take his weight.
• If your dog does fall through the ice never be tempted to go in after him; call the emergency services immediately.
• Antifreeze is highly poisonous but tasty to dogs. Keep it well out of their reach and mop up any spills quickly!
The ponds are lightly iced over on Hampstead Heath this morning. That tip about not going in after your dog? “More people die saving their dogs than dogs die going into icy water,” says Kevin-The-Trainer. “It can be great to have a dog that loves water, but the problem is that they don’t understand about ice. If you are lucky, when they see their favourite pond covered in ice they will back off.” But, as we see in news reports year after year, some dogs dive straight on to thin ice and they – and often their distraught owner, too – end up in trouble.
Kevin’s advice is simple but potentially life-saving: “If you have a water-obsessed dog and there is ice on the ponds, exercise them elsewhere or keep them on a lead. Alternatively, train your dog to go in water only with your permission, much as you would with children.”