Depending on where you live, winter can mean snow, ice, sleet, rain or all of the above. Take a look at these various scenarios and gain some sage advice for staying safe and comfortable this season.
It’s hard for dogs to understand when weather interrupts their usual routine. Use caution and common sense when deciding if it’s too cold for a walk or how long a walk will be comfortable for you both.
In snow and ice, a dog’s paws can be one area that’s especially sensitive. Boots, a balm or Vaseline on the paw pads can help before a walk and a warm washcloth after. If you use rock salt on your hardscape, purchase pet-friendly versions. While not all dogs want or need to don winter wear, short-haired dogs, seniors and puppies may appreciate added winter warmth. Sure, mom said not to rough house inside, but when it’s too cold for a walk, Fido may appreciate a small game of fetch or tug-o-war indoors to help expel pent-up energy. Food puzzle toys can also help keep a dog busy when it’s too cold for outdoor play.
The Power is Out
While a power outage may bring back fond memories of candlelit evenings, a power outage in the winter can be dangerous. Make sure to stay warm with layers of clothing, a hat and plenty of blankets. Use candles cautiously and don’t leave them burning unattended. Stay dry and hydrated, avoid alcohol and get enough to eat. Never use generators or other outdoor items indoors, and don’t use a gas oven to try and heat your home. Unplug your computer, TV and other sensitive electronics. Leave one light plugged in so you’ll know when the power comes back on.
Ice can make even the most athletic person slip and fall. Whenever there’s a possibility of ice, always use caution. Wear shoes with proper traction, step down (not out) carefully when exiting a vehicle, and when walking, take short steps and point your feet out to walk like a penguin.
During a flood, stay aware of changing conditions via TV, Internet or radio. If you must evacuate, turn off the utilities in your home, but don’t touch electronics if you are wet or standing in water. Do not walk through moving water or drive through flooded areas.
My Car is Kit-less
Wherever you live, it’s important to have a road emergency kit in your car. If you live or drive in a cold region, make sure your kit also has warm-weather gear, snacks and water, plus car essentials like tire chains and an ice scraper.
While winter safety isn’t the most glamorous topic, weather reaches everyone, and a little knowledge and preparation can help you make it safely to spring.