Slipping and Sliding: How to Keep Your Dog Safe on the Ice

January 28, 2019

Every Dog is Prone to Slips and Falls

DSC07746With winter in full swing, dog owners must deal with snowy and icy conditions. It’s just a part of Lakewood life. However, there are real concerns to think about as the family dog and owner step outside of the comfortable home. Ice will cover stairs, sidewalks and other areas. Owners don’t want any person or animal to slip and fall. Get familiar with these basic tips that will protect the pooch from slipping and sliding. Real injuries can occur otherwise.

Simply Slow Down

Dog training professionals will always start out with the most basic advice: slow down on the daily walk. There’s no need to hurry through the wintry conditions. Ice can surprise nearly anyone, even if he or she has lived in Lakewood for years.

Maintain a slow-and-steady pace. If ice appears along the walkway, slow down just a bit more. The dog won’t be traveling at its fastest speed, which means that its already being somewhat reserved in its gait. Control the pooch as both human and canine carefully traverse the ice.

Avoid Melting Ice

Walking across completely frozen ice is the ideal scenario. Solid, centers of gravity for both the owner and dog will make the walk a successful one. An exception to this rule is melting ice. When ice loses its structure, it becomes even more slippery. It might have a shimmering quality to its surface. Try to walk around this type of ice.

The warmth from the dog’s paws might cause slightly more melting of the ice underneath it, which leads to an incredibly slick surface. Don’t challenge melting ice. Cross the street if necessary.

Invest in Booties

Prevent falls by investing in winter booties. Although the pooch may not be thrilled with the booties at first, it will walk across snow and ice with ease. There’s more contact with the ground and less pain from the freezing cold. Paws that aren’t numb from the ice can feel more sensations, which leads to better balancing on ice and other surfaces.

Trim the Nails

Some pet owners may not realize that the nails play a big part in slipping and falling. Long nails don’t offer much purchase on a slick surface. In fact, they act almost like ice skates. Ideally, pet owners want the nails to be trimmed back so that the pads are completely in contact with the ground. The pads have better friction control on the ice than the nails. Long nails are uncomfortable for the pet too, which gives owners several reasons to trim them on a regular basis.

Become the Support

A clever way to thwart a potential fall is by being a support. A pet owner’s legs can be a perfect barrier between a slip and fall. When the owner sees that the pet is struggling, stand closely to the dog’s side. Both parties may need to traverse the ice together in this manner. It may not be too efficient as a walk, but the ice should ease up in a few feet. Supporting each other might ease any falls for the owner as well.

Slips Happen

There may be no way around a slip and fall at times. If a pet owner sees the dog losing its balance, try to control the direction of the fall. Guide the dog’s fall toward the ice’s edge where some soil, grass or snow may be located. Almost any other surface is better to fall on than the ice itself.

Help the pooch up with as much care as possible. Most dog daycare professionals would suggest a careful walk home at this point. Carry the pooch if it’s a small breed.

When to Visit the Vet

Keep a close eye on the family dog after any fall. Dogs will often try to cover up any injury because it’s a sign of weakness. Concerning signals might include:

• Whining

• Reluctance to rise up from the bed

• Limping

Take the suggestion of a dog daycare professional, and visit the vet as a precaution. A wellness check may be all that’s necessary. Some breeds have loose joints, which may require a quick adjustment.

More serious ailments may be involved if the fall was a substantial one. In general, a taller dog will often have more injuries than a small pooch. They simply have farther to fall with the taller legs.

Follow the Recovery Rules

Broken bones, sprains and other injuries require a recovery time. Golden pet owners must abide by the rules set forth by the vet in these cases. Limited movement and even crate time might be suggested. The pup must rest those aching muscles and bones.

To ease the recovery time, lavish extra attention on the dog. Sit and pet the pooch as the family gathers for dinner or relaxing after a long day. Ignoring the pet will only cause anxiousness and further injury as it tries to act normally.

Consider Canine Training

A great way to cap off a successful recovery is by participating in dog training. A well-behaved dog is easier to control on the leash and around the home. Commanding the pooch to “heel” before it steps onto the ice in the future can prevent subsequent falls.

Training involves a forged bond between the owner and pet. It enhances the relationship and makes it stronger. Walks during the winter or summer will be more enjoyable since both parties will know what’s expected in almost any situation.

Regardless of where a pet owner walks in Golden, ice is a possibility. Plan out a walking route and survey it each day. Ice doesn’t have to end those walks until the spring. They can be obstacles to challenge and overcome as the pooch enjoys the winter wonderland. Exploring the world and its many changes is part of the dog-and-owner experience.