The winter season can be a dangerous time for your Shih Tzu. With the cold weather and icy conditions, it is important to take precautions to keep your dog safe. Snow and ice can cause slips and falls, and the cold weather can be harsh on their skin.
There are several winter safety tips that you can follow that will help keep your Shih Tzu safe and healthy during the winter months!
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1. Protect your Shih Tzu from Frostbite
Frostbite is a serious condition that can occur when your dog is exposed to cold temperatures. The most common areas for frostbite are the ears, nose, and Paw Pads.
Signs of frostbite include pale or gray skin, stiffness, and numbness. If you think your dog may have frostbite, it is important to seek medical attention immediately.
To prevent frostbite, keep your Shih Tzu indoors when the temperature dips below freezing. If they must go outside, make sure they are properly bundled up. A winter coat or sweater will help protect their chest and stomach from the cold air.
Don’t forget to put booties on their feet to protect their paw pads!
2. Be Mindful of Salt and Ice Melt
When winter weather hits, many people use salt and ice melt to help keep their sidewalks and driveways clear. However, these products can be harmful to your Shih Tzu if they ingest them.
Salt and ice melt can cause gastrointestinal upset and even burns on their paw pads.
To protect your dog, avoid letting them lick the salt or ice melt off their paws. You can also wipe their feet with a damp cloth when they come inside to remove any residue.
If you use salt or ice melt at your home, be sure to keep it out of reach of your Shih Tzu. Be sure to always clean up any spills right away.
3. Watch Out for Hypothermia
Hypothermia is a condition that occurs when your body temperature drops below normal. Symptoms of hypothermia include shivering, lethargy, and weakness. If left untreated, hypothermia can be fatal.
Dogs are susceptible to hypothermia just like humans. The best way to prevent it is to keep them indoors when the temperature outside is cold. If they must go outside, make sure they are wearing appropriate gear to keep them warm.
If you think your dog may be suffering from hypothermia, contact your veterinarian immediately.
4. Beware of Frozen Bodies of Water
Frozen ponds and lakes may look like fun to play on, but they can be dangerous for your Shih Tzu. The ice can be thin and break easily, leaving your dog at risk of falling in and drowning.
To keep your Shih Tzu safe, avoid letting them walk on frozen bodies of water. If you are near a frozen pond or lake, keep them on a leash and supervise them at all times.
If you live in an area with winter weather, it is important to teach your Shih Tzu the “stay” command. This will help prevent them from running onto a frozen body of water if they see another animal on the other side.
5. Take Care of Dry Winter Skin
The winter weather can be harsh on your Shih Tzu’s skin. The cold air and low humidity can cause their skin to become dry, itchy, and cracked.
To help relieve dry winter skin, consider using a humidifier in your home. This will add moisture to the air and help keep their skin hydrated. You can also use a soothing oatmeal shampoo when you give them a bath.
Afterwards, be sure to apply a quality pet moisturizer to their skin after they dry off.
If your Shih Tzu’s winter skin problems persist, it is important to talk to your veterinarian. They can recommend other treatment options, such as medicated shampoos or dietary supplements if necessary.
6. Weather Appropriate Grooming
Your Shih Tzu’s coat is one of their best defenses against the cold winter weather. But if their coat is matted or tangled, it won’t be as effective. So, it is important to keep their coat well-groomed during the winter months.
Brush your Shih Tzu’s coat regularly to remove any tangles or mats. If their coat is particularly long, you may need to have it trimmed shorter for the winter. This will help prevent ice and snow from building up in their fur and making them uncomfortable.
Ask the groomer for a winter cut that is appropriate for your climate.
It is also important to pay attention to your Shih Tzu’s paws during the winter. Ice and snow can accumulate between their toes and cause irritation.
Be sure to check their paws after they come inside and remove any debris that may be stuck in their fur.
7. Keep Indoors During Winter Storms
When winter storms hit, it is important to keep your Shih Tzu indoors. The high winds and heavy snow can be dangerous for them. There are plenty of fun indoor activities you can do with your Shih Tzu to keep them entertained.
If you must take your Shih Tzu outside during a winter storm, as mentioned before, make sure they are properly bundled up and keep it quick.
8. Keep Antifreeze Out of Reach
Antifreeze is a common winter car maintenance item, but it can be deadly for dogs. Even a small amount of antifreeze can cause kidney failure in dogs. The sweet taste of antifreeze can make it tempting for them to drink.
To keep your Shih Tzu safe, store antifreeze and other winter car maintenance items out of reach. If you think your dog may have ingested antifreeze, it is important to seek medical attention immediately.
Symptoms of antifreeze poisoning include vomiting, diarrhea, seizures, and coma. If untreated, antifreeze poisoning can be fatal.
9. Keep Potty Breaks Short
When the weather is cold, it is important to keep potty breaks short. The cold weather can be hard on your Shih Tzu’s feet and they may not want to stay outside for long.
If possible, take your Shih Tzu out for potty breaks before the snow starts falling. This will help prevent them from tracking snow and ice into your home. If you must take them out during a winter storm, be sure to wipe their feet off when they come back inside.
Consider using an indoor potty patch for days when it’s bitterly cold or storming outside.
10. Be Careful of Snow Piles
Snow can be fun for dogs to play in, but it is important to be careful of snow piles. Snow can hide sharp objects like sticks or stones. If your dog jumps into a snow pile, they could get injured by the hidden objects, not to mention that they can end up buried underneath.
If you are playing with your Shih Tzu in the snow, be sure to keep an eye on them.
11. Use Caution Around Space Heaters and Fireplaces
Space heaters and fireplaces are common winter home heating options. But they can be dangerous for dogs if they are not used properly.
Keep space heaters out of reach of your Shih Tzu and never leave them unattended while in use.
12. Monitor Their Food and Water Intake
In the winter, it is important to monitor your Shih Tzu’s food and water intake. The cold weather can make them less thirsty, so they may not drink as much water as they normally do.
Also, if they are not drinking as much water, they may also not eat as much food. This can lead to weight loss and dehydration.
To prevent these problems, make sure your Shih Tzu has access to fresh water at all times. If they are not eating as much food, talk to your veterinarian about whether or not you should increase their food intake.
13. Don’t Leave Them Alone in the Car
Never leave your Shih Tzu alone in the car in winter. The cold weather can be deadly for dogs. If they are left alone in the car, even if it’s for a quick errand they could freeze to death.
If you must take your Shih Tzu with you in the car, make sure you always keep them with you.
14. Make Sure They Are Wearing an ID Tag
In case your Shih Tzu gets lost in winter weather, make sure they are wearing an ID tag. An ID tag with your contact information can help someone return your dog to you if they find them.
15. Be Prepared for Emergencies
Winter weather can be unpredictable. So, it is important to be prepared for emergencies.
With the cold weather also brings the risks of severe weather conditions such as, blizzards and power outages. Prepare an emergency kit for your pet.
Have enough food, water and medicine including any prescription medications as well as heartworm and flea/tick preventives on hand to get through at least 5 days.
Also be sure to have a pet first aid kit available.
Winter weather can be dangerous for your Shih Tzu, but there are steps you can take to keep them safe.
By following these 15 winter safety tips for your Shih Tzu, you can help ensure an enjoyable, happy and healthy winter season.