Most dogs love to play in the soft snow, many dogs even like to eat the snow. But what only a few dog owners consider: cold food is not necessarily healthy. Sensitive animals can easily get upset stomachs. Although snow is just frozen water, the risk of snow gastritis should not be underestimated.
Snow gastritis can present with vomiting or lead to diarrhea. Symptoms may include loud abdominal gurgles, abdominal pain, and decreased appetite. In case of doubt, the dog should be taken to the vet if the symptoms persist.
The risk of snow gastritis can be reduced if you offer your dog enough fresh water before you go for a walk so that it doesn’t get too thirsty during the winter walk. You should also avoid throwing snowballs with sensitive dogs. This is fun but encourages the dog to eat more snow than is good for him. Overall, however, snow gastritis is not a severe condition. An upset stomach can be treated well with appropriate medication.
Special paw protection in winter
In addition, it is also very important to pay attention to special paw care in winter. Moisture, road salt, and hard frozen, or icy ground are a heavy burden for dog pads. In long-haired dogs with heavy growth between the toes, small lumps of ice can form between the toes, which can make walking difficult and even lead to skin injuries. You should therefore clean your paws after a walk, especially if they have come into contact with road salt. Scattered small stones are often painful for the ball of the foot, which is already sensitive in winter, and it is not uncommon for a small stone to impale itself in the moist and therefore very soft skin of the paws.
After the walk, the sensitive paws are usually licked intensively, which also massages germs into small wounds and injuries. The result is lick eczema. The feet should therefore be cleaned thoroughly with lukewarm water and freed from small stones and salt residue. If necessary, you can then apply a nourishing paw protection cream. To prevent injuries or to protect already sore feet, so-called “booties” – these are stable “overshoes” made of fleece or nylon, for example – can also be pulled over.
Danger of cold also in dogs
Just like us humans, our four-legged friends are more susceptible to colds, arthrosis symptoms, or urinary tract infections in winter, for example. When the temperature is below zero, the following applies: keep moving. After a walk in wet and cold weather, you should towel the dog thoroughly and let it dry completely in a draft-free, warm place. In addition, a vitamin cure helps to strengthen the body’s defenses in the cold season.