Warm Winter Weather

by: Jennifer Oldfield

Cats-playing-in-snowIn Saskatchewan we are all use to the ups and downs of the climate.  Throughout the winter we can go from -40C to a balmy -2C in the span of a couple days.  The warm weather always perks people up and gets them excited to enjoy it while it lasts.  Lots of people will come out of hiding with their dogs and head out for some great snow fun.

There are, however a few things to take caution with when the weather warms up so quickly:

Surfaces can become very slippery with the sudden increase in temperature.  The quick rise causes ice crystals to form – it’s what gives that beautiful glittery appearance to everything – which can be a big hazard to both you and your pet.  Especially at risk of injuring when slipping are pets that are overweight, older, and not in the best physical health (weakened or decreased muscle mass).   Use care and caution when heading out, check first before allowing your dog to run or chase after a toy.Frisbee in snow

When heading out onto snow packed areas you need to also be cautious, again ice and ice crystals can become a problem.  Surfaces can become jagged and sharp and potentially cause cuts to pads, feet and limbs.  Also the warmth could cause areas that seem densely packed to cave in as the snow underneath becomes warmer.

calico-snow-kitty1Frostbite can still occur in this warm weather when sensitive areas are exposed for too long.


A good plan is simply to check your pet over after any outdoor adventure.  Look at lower limbs, feet, pads and ear tips for any cuts, cracks or discoloured or painful spots.  Keep an eye on your pet after as well.  Dogs tend to lick areas that are sore, which could be an indication of an injury.  Watch if a pet is limping after your fun filled time outside.  If the limp does not improve with rest, contact your veterinarian to be sure no damage has occurred to muscles or tendons.

Always avoid bodies of water when the weather increases so drastically.  It is hard to be certain of how thick and safe the ice may or may not be.  Should your pet end up in a position where they are on unsafe ice.  Do NOT follow them.  Try to encourage them to come to you quickly.  If they do break through the ice, again do NOT try to get to them.  Call 9-1-1 so those who are equipped to deal with these circumstances can aid your pet, getting them to safety.  Once your pet is retrieved, even if they seem fine you should contact your veterinarian immediately.  Hypothermia and frostbite can both occur and if not treated can lead to loss of affected areas of skin or even death.


DO take advantage of the fun and memory making time that can occur when the winter weather is finally nice enough to allow it, especially when we really have no idea how long it will last!

kids snow

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