Cold Weather Precautions

Kerries usually do not mind the cold weather, however, there are some general cold weather precautions that should be followed by people who live in areas that reach 32 degrees and below.

  • Rock salt, used to melt ice on sidewalks, can irritate paw pads. Rinse and dry your dog’s feet after a walk. After washing, apply Vaseline or Bag Balm to the dog’s pads to soothe irritated paws. Apply again, to protect paws, just before walks or play outdoors.
  • Snow and ice collecting under paws will be less of a problem, if the hair on their paws is properly trimmed.
  • According to National Animal Poison Control (800 548 2423) an alternative to the salts is sand or kitty litter. They will not melt the ice, but they will offer traction. Also, of the ice melts available-those containing sodium chloride are the least toxic.
  • Watch out for spilled antifreeze on driveways. Antifreeze smells and tastes good to dogs, but it can be lethal. As little as a tablespoon of ethylene glycol antifreeze can kill a cat, and a couple of ounces can kill a dog. The sweet taste of ethylene glycol is tempting to dogs, so make sure you dispose of the material properly. There are brands of antifreeze that do not contain ethylene glycol, but even those are dangerous if a large quantity is ingested.
  • Keep your dogs leashed, especially if you are near frozen bodies of water.
  • Your dog may need more food as the temperature drops. Check that your dogs are maintaining their proper weight.
  • Fresh, not frozen, water must be available at all times to prevent dehydration, which can accelerate hypothermia and frostbite.
  • Tiled and uncarpeted areas can become extremely cold. Blankets, pads and insulated beds should be used to reduce loss of body heat. Keep pets away from drafty areas of the house.
  • Frostbite in dogs occurs most frequently on the tips of the ears, tail, feet and genitals in males, and nipples in lactating females.

Use common sense. If your Kerry keeps running to the door to come in, you know he would rather be sitting by the fireside with you.

Last Updated: 01/24/2004, 7:32 pm