While some dogs avoid the cold and snow, others love to run and play in all types of weather! For the most part, playing/walking/running in the snow is great exercise and is safe for all dogs to do. Sometimes we will see problems in bad weather if they overdo it or have an accident.
The most common problem we see is a broken or torn toenail. If your dog comes running back to you, or when they come inside, and you see blood spots on the floor than a torn nail is a common culprit. What happens is when they run through crusty snow or ice their nail can catch and pull. Sometimes the nail rips right off but most times it cracks and pulls up. It is very similar to humans when we break our nails past the cuticle (and it hurts and bleeds)!
The reason we pay attention to nail injuries is because unlike us (who would clean, bandage and continue to monitor our nail) our dogs walk on their broken nails. And their feet touch all kinds of dirty things in the run of a day! So depending on the type of injury, we sometimes need to consider pain medication and occasionally antibiotics.
Having a cut on a pad or between their toes can happen in very sharp ice during the winter. If it is a surface injury it can often be monitored at home and will heal on its own, but if it is deep enough to go completely through the layer of skin, we would recommend your dog being seen right away (stitches might be needed)!
Another note that we see frequently is if your dog is having urinary troubles, you sometimes aren’t aware of it – until you see that their urine appears dark or even red on the fresh snow. They can be sneaky and not show signs of bladder problems but if you ever see urine puddles you are concerned about let us know.
If you have a tolerant doggy they will sometimes let you put booties on to protect their feet. There are also paw guard products that can help with salt and sand on the roads.
If you have any need for products or supplies for your pet or any questions about their winter health, please call us anytime!