Stay Safe this Winter!

My deepest sympathies go out to the poor family of a dog that tragically died last weekend (2021).

The poor pup was just playing with his friend and they both went out onto the frozen reservoir. Both dogs fell in, but after incredible efforts, sadly only one could be saved. The cold weather has crept up on us all this year, and this tragedy could have happened to anyone, so I wanted to put together a few suggestions to help you keep your dog safe this winter.

a black and white large dog has snow stuck to his fur and is wearing an orange knitted bobble hat.

Top Tips…

  1. Stay Warm! It’s getting pretty cold out there. Some breeds are more susceptible to the cold than others, but the general rule is that if it drops below 0c then they should have a coat or jumper on. If it gets below -4c, then vulnerable dogs should not be walked at all. Everyone else should stay home if it drops below -10c.
  2. Stay Clean and Dry! Give your dog a good rub down after every walk. Pay particular attention to the feet, between the toes, around the tail, and the belly. While he’s getting his rub down, take a moment to check there is no salt or grit trapped. Also check for clumps of snow which could turn into ice balls and be very painful and even dangerous for your dog.
  3. Wash your dogs feet! Antifreeze is back in use. It can spill onto roads and paths and be picked up on the dogs feet. So, give your dogs feet a good rinse as soon as you get home, so they can’t lick it off later.
  4. Prepare yourself for fewer walks! As it gets colder, walks will get fewer so stock up on toys designed to challenge and tire your dogs body and mind. Alternatively, use your walking time to teach them some fun new tricks that you can show off in the new year.
  5. Don’t leave dogs in the car! Just as dogs can suffer in a hot car in the summer, the temperature can plummet in the winter too. As it gets colder its probably safer to leave them at home where it is cosy and warm.
  6. And of course, please keep dogs on leads near water! You have no way of knowing how safe the ice is, and neither does your dog, so just better to avoid it altogether. Too many dogs, and owners, die as a result of frozen lakes each year.
  7. Be super cautious of what your dog is licking and picking up. Antifreeze is incredibly toxic and dogs like the taste of it. If you think your dog might have licked some antifreeze take them to the vet straightaway, by the time you see symptoms of illness it will probably be too late to help them.
  8. Read my top tips for walking in the dark!

What would you add to this list?


I have more than 15 years experience solving all kinds of canine behaviour problems, at home and in rescue. A bad experience with a old fashioned dog trainer inspired me to learn more about dog behaviour, and it is because of him, that I wall never use harsh methods when training and rehabilitating dogs.

I work privately with clients in Dundee and the surrounding area with dogs of all ages, breeds and issues including anxiety, aggression and hyperactivity.

In 2009 I was proud to publish a book about dog behaviour and training. How to be the Perfect Pack Leader (by Caroline Jenkins) remains popular today and a follow up is expected very shortly.

Articles: 132

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *