It’s important to use caution whenever bringing your dog outside in cold and freezing temperatures, as icy sidewalks can prove dangerous — especially to older dogs who are not quite as light on their feet.
Pet parents of senior dogs may need to pay more attention during walks across cold, icy terrain, as older pups may slip and fall more easily. “Like human senior citizens, canine senior citizens have weakened immune systems and are more susceptible to viral infections such as the flu and bacterial infections,” Barrack explains. “Older dogs are often prone to arthritis, which can worsen in severity as the temperature drops.”
No matter your dog’s age, keep an eye on where your pup is sniffing and licking, as antifreeze is commonly used in the wintertime, Barrack notes, and can leak onto the road or driveway. Even a small amount can be fatal if ingested by a dog or cat, so it’s important to clean up any spills and avoid suspect spots.
When temperatures get really frigid, keep walks short. No pet should be left outside on her own during the winter months, according to Barrack, as all dogs can suffer from hypothermia and frostbite. If you’re getting cold, your dog is probably feeling the chill as well.