If your Great Dane is like every other Great Dane we know, they like to play in the snow. There is something about that chilly white fluff that is just irresistible! While we all enjoy watching our dogs frolic in a fresh blanket of snow, we need to be aware of the dangers that Winter weather presents and we need to take precautions to protect our Danes from the cold.
Chilly temperatures are not the only threat that winter brings. There are other dangers as well. Road salts and deicing agents, anti-freeze, thin ice, and even indoor hazards that only present themselves during the winter months.
Just like we humans, our Great Danes should bundle up to protect themselves against the cold weather. Even if the temperature is above freezing, your Danes extremities are susceptible to wind chill. Exposed paws, noses, and ears are all at risk for frostbite in the winter months and hypothermia is a real concern in the cold, wet environment of winter.
You can protect your Danes paws by providing them with waterproof paw booties that not only ward of the cold but also prevent their paws from exposure to deicing salts and chemicals which are prevalent in the winter months. Many of these booties are also slip-resistant which can help prevent falls. To ward off the effects of hypothermia, consider an insulated sweater or jacket.
LIMIT OUTDOOR TIME
Even bundled-up, your Great Dane should not be left outdoors for extended periods of time during cold spells. In fact, leaving a pet outside alone in temperatures below freezing for more than 30 minutes is considered neglect, which is a punishable crime. Limit outdoor playtime to half-hour intervals and always towel your Dane off before letting them loose in the house. This will not only help protect your Dane from common colds and hypothermia, but it will protect your furniture as well.
Never, ever leave your Dane outside overnight without a warm shelter in which they can safely maintain their body temperature.
BE AWARE OF ROCK SALT AND DEICING CHEMICALS
During the winter months, streets and sidewalks are often covered with rock salt and/or deicing chemicals. These can be extremely dangerous for your Great Dane. Salt poisoning is a real concern and can kill your Dane and many of the chemicals used in deicing agents are toxic. Monitor your Dane’s outside activity if you know that these substances are present and always clean their paws after winter walks.
NEVER LEAVE YOUR DANE UNATTENDED IN A CAR
Just as a car can heat up quickly in the Summertime, a car left out in the winter can quickly turn into a deep freeze. We know that Fido loves to go on errands with you, but if your errand will require you to leave him in the car, you are both better off leaving him at home.
DANE-PROOF YOUR HOME
During the winter months, our indoor environments can present new hazards for your Great Dane. Space heaters, fireplaces, and radiators can pose serious risks for you and your Dane. Make sure that these items are protected with barriers or otherwise secured. A bounding Great Dane can easily knock a space heater over or inadvertently brush up against a hot radiator.
BEEF UP THEIR DIET
If your Dane is active in the winter months, they will likely burn more calories when playing in the cold. You can help them to replace those lost calories with healthy treats or a little extra in their daily meals. Of course, you do not want to overfeed your Dane so it is important to monitor their weight as always.
If you feed your Dane outside, consider replacing any metal food and water dishes with plastic ones. Metal dishes can become extremely cold and a wet tongue can easily get stuck to them. Also, be sure that your Dane’s water does not freeze solid. Regardless of the temperature, your Dane should always have access to clean, freshwater.
VISIT YOUR VETERNARIAN
Before the temperatures drop, it is a good idea to take your Dane for a check-up. Your vet can check for any new health conditions that may impact their ability to manage the cold. For instance, if your Dane suffers from diabetes, heart, or kidney disease, it can lower their cold-weather tolerance. Also, new or worsening arthritis can cause stiff joints and soreness in the colder months.